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Pine Needles

All Areas > Food & Drink > Wild Food Foraging

Author: Steven Hawley, Posted: Thursday, 24th December 2015, 08:00

Foraging at this time of year often yields as much satisfaction as checking through a fridge you know to be empty. Eventually, after checking the sell by date on the cream cheese for the second time, you begin to lower your expectations on each subsequent pass of the kitchen in an effort to find something you fancy for dinner, until you surrender yourself to some disappointing beans on a toasted finger roll you found in the bottom drawer of your freezer from the last BBQ of summer. It’s not until you really tuck into your miserable meal that you realise it’s been ages since you last had beans on toast, that you had forgotten how much you like them and, now you’ve reminded yourself, will probably have them again tomorrow.

A fantastic winter warmer
Unlike a barren fridge, the barren countryside will always offer up a tasty little morsel. Pine needles on their own might not sound very appetising – and you’re right – but pine needle tea is a fantastic winter warmer as it is very high in vitamin C, ideal for fending off seasonal colds or detoxing after your inevitable end of year binge.

Simply grab five to six pine needles and place them in your favourite mug, then pour over boiling water and allow to steep for about ten minutes. I sometimes give my pine needles a light bruising to really unlock that fresh tasting goodness.

Keep an eye out for globules of hardened sap on the tree trunk while harvesting your needles. With the pine’s antibacterial properties, the sap can act as a great treatment for a sore throat if sucked like a cough drop. It would probably do a good job of clearing out your sinuses too!

If you’re not 100% sure that the plant you’re picking is safe for human consumption, don’t pick it. If you’re prone to food allergies, or pregnant, always seek medical advice before consuming anything foraged in the wild.

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