Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wild edibles; Pine needles

This one is about as simple as it gets and it's blissfully safe. All pines are edible so, as always, make sure you've got a pine. That shouldn't be too tough but you never know. If it's got needles and cones, it's a pine. There are a number of edible elements in addition to making tea with the needles, though chewing them raw is even a source of vitamins C and A. I have no idea if the heat from making the tea destroys the vitamins but it might.

You can also eat the inner bark. If you do it just right, it's possible to cut it into strips and use it like spaghetti. It certainly doesn't taste like pasta, but if it's available or all you have to eat, it's there.

To make the tea simply steep the needles in hot water the same way you would make any other tea. I like it with a little lavender and pine needle tea is admittedly somewhat of an acquired taste but nothing a little honey won't fix if you aren't in a "survival" situation and have access to it.

Pine needles can also be used to flavor breads and roast meats or fish. One nice thing about them is pines grow all over the place, so as a forager or survivalist, it's basically there for you from the Everglades to Seattle in all sorts of conditions and you can gather it as you walk meaning you expend very little extra effort or energy in your day to add another element to a foraged diet.

They're so readily available that I have never tried to dry them but I imagine you might be able to. I also use the needles to make baskets and freeze the needles for storage once in a while for that purpose. When I get them out they still smell fresh so I'd guess you could at least freeze them if they are scarce in your area.

1 comment:

  1. That is exactly the information I was looking for, I love to be out in nature and am always looking for anyway I can be closer it, but identify edibles is so difficult! Thanks for this article, keep on writing!