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Pine needles range in size from 3 to 5 inches and are a deep forest green color. The long, thin needles vary slightly from variety to variety, depending on the region in which they grow. Pine needles have a strong pine scent, and a biting resinous flavor.
In the wild Pine needles can be foraged year-round.
Pine needles can be found on evergreen trees throughout the world and can be found on roughly 114 species in the Pinus genus. Most common pines are predominantly from two subgenera of the Pinaceae family: Pinus and Strobus. The needles of the Pinus or Strobus subgenera are typically longer, thinner and more flexible than the needles of the Picea subgenera which include spruce and fir trees.
It is said that Pine needles can be used as a natural remedy for up to 80% of human diseases. Pine needles are high in vitamin C; a tea made with the needles of the Pine tree has been used to stave off scurvy when no other sources of vitamin C were readily available. In a tincture or tea, Pine needles can help alleviate congestion and other respiratory problems. Components in Pine needles have decongestant, disinfectant and wound healing properties.
Foraged Pine needles can be used for a variety of applications. Pine needles are used most often for the oils and aroma within, to impart a pine scent or flavor to teas, ice creams, and liquors. Pine needles can be used like applewood or mahogany in fires to smoke meats or chicken, adding a hint of pine flavor. Place Pine needles under fish while cooking or chop like rosemary and add to marinades or brine.
Pine trees are native to all continents and are predominant in Europe, Asia, Mediterranean Africa, North America and various island countries. In the Eastern US, the more common pine is Pinus strobus, or white pine; in the Western US it is Pinus ponderosae. Both hardwood and softwood pines have been used for their wood, shelter, and for medicinal purposes.
Recipes that include Pine Needles. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Cooked||Pine, Pancakes & Pollen|
|Herb Geek||Evergreen Syrup|
|Spoon University||White Pine Needle Shortbread Cookies|