Eating the Weeds: Pine

Pine trees? Really Hannah?

You bet your sweet ass!

While the uses for pine can be varied and vast, I’m going to talk about the two easiest things to harvest from a pine tree: nuts and needles.

Animated gif of Daryl from the Walking Dead, eating
I mean how else are you going to lure Daryl into your part of the cell block for the night?

Harvesting nuts isn’t nearly as easy as making pine needle tea, but if you want to know every food source in your area for when the zombies come, it’s worth knowing. Certain types of pines are more reliable nut producers; the best known in the US is the Pinion Pine, though from what I’ve read you can harvest from any pine that’ll produce the nuts. Only pines that are at least 10-15 years old will produce them, and only from cones that are closed. If they’ve opened, chances are they’ve already dropped their nuts (LOL) and they’ve been scavenged by animals. To help speed up the opening process, you can either leave them in a warm dry place, bake them on a cookie sheet on the lowest setting (120 degrees) for a spell until you see them open, or you can let them sit in the sun. Once they’re open you can try shaking the seeds out or peeling the cones apart and pulling them out. Once you have them, you can either shell them and use them right away or keep them in the fridge (they have a high oil content and will keep about a month) Now reading more about pine nuts I read about a condition called “Pine Mouth,” which is when eating pine nuts will leave a weird metallic taste in your mouth for a day or so. According to the FDA, it’s not harmful, just annoying. Those who reported it ate the nuts raw, so while it’s not common, if you don’t want to risk it, you should roast or bake the nuts.

That’s a lot of fucking work. So for those who want something a little easier, pine needle tea is the way to go. Basically you harvest fresh pine needles and steep them in some hot water for a few minutes. This drink is packed with vitamins (especially vitamin C for those of you with scurvy) and is useful if you’re out of orange juice. Now as y’all know, I like to post a video every week along with my ramblings so you can get a good look at the plant and see it used (some people are visual learners after all) So here’s a short clip about pine and making pine needle tea:

Now there’s debate about isocupressic acid. The initial article regarding it and abortions was actually about cattle eating several pounds of pine needles and aborting their calves, and every scientific article (READ, NOT HOME MADE YOU TUBE VIDEOS) related this only to cattle and not humans. This highlights to me the importance of using multiple sources of information when you’re taking your health into your own hands. There are times when I’m reading about foraging a certain plant and I find out there are potential health risks that don’t get mentioned at all on certain articles, and if I hadn’t multi-sourced, I could have potentially caused myself harm. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

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