Christmas is over and for those of you who are waiting for the special curbside pick-up to take away your tree – wait!
Why not capture all the amazing nutrients your tree has to offer? Yes, you can eat or drink your tree and your health will benefit from it!
Nutrients in Coniferous Trees
Pine needles are loaded with vitamins A and C, and it doesn’t end there. The vitamin C levels are so high (on average 5 times greater than lemons) who needs oranges! We’ve all heard about the power of resveratrol – pine needles have it! They also have quercetin, flavonoids, tannins, pine oils, anthocyanins, proanthocyanin and much more.
- Vitamin C and proanthocyanin are considered to be important in preventing cancer.
- Pine oils, according to Russian studies, is useful to control the weight, lower cholesterol and in lowering the blood pressure.
- Proanthocyanin and resveratrol are potent anti-aging compounds.
Making Coniferous Teas
It was once believed that vitamin C will be destroyed if extracted into boiling water – this is not true. Vitamin C boils at over 500 degrees centigrade and this is a temperature that cannot be reached from boiling water on the stove or in a kettle – therefore you will benefit from all that vitamin C!
Fir, Pine or Spruce Tree Powder
Take the dried needles and powder them in your blender. Store the final product in a mason jar. Use this powder to add a lemony taste (yes, there is a lemon-taste to these) to your cooking – fish, chicken, and even in some of your desserts! To make tea, use one teaspoon of powder per cup of boiling water and infuse twenty minutes.
Place some needles into a mason jar one quarter full; add olive oil until all the needles are covered. Let infuse for 3 weeks (out of direct sunlight), then strain. You can use this to make salad dressings or to cook with.
Fill a mason jar with (preferably) white pine needles. Douglas fir, balsam pine or spruce will work as well. Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar and let infuse minimum six weeks in a dark location. Strain and decant. (Important – do NOT use a metal lid from the mason jar as the vinegar can cause it to corrode. Use plastic wrap or a sandwich baggie to seal the jar.)
Pine Needle Syrup
Fill a mason jar with finely cut up organic lemon with the peel and pine needles. Pour honey into the mason jar until the jar is filled. Cover and let sit for 3 weeks. Strain and decant. This is am amazing syrup which can be used as a beverage, poured over ice cream and it tastes great. Some people use this as a cough syrup due to the healing power in honey and the high content of vitamin C in the pine needles.
Let’s Not Forget About Cedar
Take a fresh sprig of cedar and place it in your mug – add water and let infuse twenty minutes. Do not drink fresh cedar tree more than once a week as it contains a volatile oil. Cedar is best when dried and powdered and stored to be used for tea.
Still thinking about tossing your Christmas tree to the curb?