Welcome to my post on “10 reasons why you should be foraging for pine needles”…
Many of us think of pine as something that finds its way into household cleaners. And hands up if you’ve ever owned one of those awful, pine tree shaped, car deodorisers! But did you know that pine needles are edible? Yes, that’s right, they are a noteworthy food source. With the real surprise being how rich they are in both vitamin C and Vitamin A!
“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life…”John Muir
10 Reasons Why You Should Be Foraging For Pine Needles:
- You’ll find they are rich in vitamin C, which is a great immune booster. (4-5x more so than freshly squeezed orange juice)
- A pot of pine needle tea will help relieve your asthma, chesty cough or sore throat.
- Likewise, a cup of pine needle tea will fight fatigue.
- Similarly, the high concentration of Vitamin A in pine needles will help heal various skin complaints, such as acne.
- Apparently these foraged evergreens can also be used to treat varicose veins!
- Pine Needles can improve your eyesight and are good for hair, skin and cell regeneration.
- They are also used to help depression, to bring mental clarity and reduce high blood pressure. In these cases, I would recommend burning pine needle incense or using an essential oil.
- Pine needles have anti-ageing properties. The strong antioxidant action of pine needle tea may help prevent premature ageing due to UV radiation
- The organic compounds in pine needles can kick start your circulatory system. As a result your production of red blood cells will increase. Consequently this can help combat illnesses such as anaemia.
- And last, but by no means least, pine bark is showing promising results in the treatment of ADHD. I know this isn’t pine needles, but it definitely deserved a place on the list!
NOTE OF CAUTION: Don’t pick from a Yew Tree as these are poisonous, although some die-hard foragers might argue that point. Personally I don’t think it’s worth the risk. ALSO, if you are pregnant, avoid all things pine as there is a school of thought that ingesting pine can cause miscarriages.
Harvesting Pine Needles
There are 3 important things you should bear in mind when harvesting pine needles:
- First of all, never take from the very top of a young tree. This will stunt its growth.
- Similarly, only nip the ends off a branch from the young trees.
- And whatever you do, don’t over harvest from just one tree. Make sure you only take a little from each tree.
Pine Needle Recipes
Of course, foraging for pine needles isn’t just about the health benefits. Here are some tried and tested recipes that use this flavoursome ingredient:
- Pine Needle Shortbread.
- Pine Rosemary Ice Cream.
- Infuse them in gin.
- Steam fish on a bed of pine needles.
- Soak them in pasteurised apple cider vinegar for 6 weeks. This will give you a lovely balsamic vinegar.
- Make a pine needle tea, add it to the gravy for your Sunday roast.
Are You Convinced?
Have my recipes and “10 Reasons Why You Should Be Foraging For Pine Needles” persuaded you to put your foraging togs on? Furthermore, are you going to have a bash at any of the recipes? I hope so! If you do, let me know in the comments section below. Or, why don’t you send me photographs of your efforts…
Recipes and photographs aside, I hope you have a great week and don’t forget to subscribe!
Lots of Love, Susan & Caber