Posts Tagged ‘tea’

From the needle, to the bark, to the pollen, to the nut… Pine Trees have so many uses!

Pine Needles- more that mulch!

Pine Needle Tea has been around for a very long time and offers lots of great health benefits. It is a rich source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. In the earlier settler days, the Native Americans gave the settlers Pine Needle as a preventative and cure for scurvy caused by lack of vitamin C in the diet.

Pine needle tea is especially beneficial for such respiratory problems as colds and congestion. Mainly used to treat coughs and colds, the vitamin C you get from the pine needles is great for every day consumption. A cup of pine needle tea may supply five times as much vitamin C as you would get from one cup of orange juice. According to the Mayo Clinic, recent research indicates that vitamin C may have a wide variety of health benefits including helping to treat urinary tract infections and colds and aiding the absorption of iron. Pine needles are strongly aromatic and even just inhaling the vapors from the tea may break up mucus in the lungs.

While camping this weekend we were surrounded by lots of pine trees. We were very excited to be able to make Pine Needle Tea! Here is how we did it:

  1. Collect a handful of pine needles (look for the younger needles, the new grow this the best to use)
  2. Break them into smaller pieces (breaking the needle also releases the nutrients into the water as it steeps)
  3. Add to boiling water and allow to steep for about 20 mins (longer for more flavor)
  4. You can strain the needles out if desire, but I like to chew on mine after I am finished.

The tea/needles has a strong citrus taste.  You can even add some honey to sweeten it up!

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Pine Bark- this tree is not only used for building!

Both the rough outer bark layer and the main woody part of the tree commonly used as lumber is non-living material. The “inner bark” or “phloem”; the actual living part of the tree is edible. This inner bark carries nutrients from the needles and roots throughout the tree.

Fry the bark for a tasty and very healthy chip! (you can even dry roast for a longer harvest)

To harvest the living bark for food you will need a fresh tree. As soon as the tree falls or is cut down the clock is ticking; wait too many days and the bark will become very difficult to remove from the rest of the tree. However on a fresh live tree the bark is easily removed in large slippery sheets.

The first step is to remove a slab consisting of both the rough outer bark and the living inner bark from the woody trunk of the tree. Simply use a chopping tool to cut a straight line completely through all the layers of bark right down to the hard wood. Then slide the edge of a tool into the cut you made so that it is forced between the bark and wood. Work the edged tool back and forth as you pull the loosened bark with your other hand. The bark is easily removed from the wood since the space between is exceedingly slippery.

The most edible and tasty part of the inner bark is that which is closest to the hard woody part of the tree. The portion of the inner bark closest to the wood of the tree has an almost sweet taste.


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