Monday, September 15, 2014

Pinecones- Are They Edible? Hmmm...

This is the time of year when the pine cones are falling.... and there are a lot of them.  Pine cones are pretty and useful too. We have 2 big white pine trees and we love them... they are beautiful trees, but the more I learn about them, the more I appreciate them.

Right now, the cones are falling... what to do with them? I was hoping to find some wonderful way to eat them or turn them into a great medicinal remedy, but so far, I haven't found that.

 Each pinecone is quite amazing in design.... my son has had a pine cone that fell from a neighbor's pine tree, but it wasn't open yet.... and it opened in about 3 days... they enjoyed watching it.

Many people use pine cones for decorating... especially around Christmas.  I read that if you bring them into the house, it is a good idea to bake them for about 45 min at 200 degrees to bake any bugs that may be hiding in them and keep them from coming out into your house. Seems like good advice... I do NOT like bugs. :)   After such treatment, they can be varnished .... or varnish and add some glitter to the wet varnish... or paint them.... or keep then natural.

 Right now, there are many falling from our two beautiful trees.. these are getting run over by bikes and lawn equipment.... and kids, but we still have lots more.

People also make firestarters from these... one way I have heard is to drizzle wax over them... or dip them in wax. They can be used to light a fire in the fireplace or in a fire pit.
 I read that young male pine cones can be eaten.... hmmm, maybe we will have to try that next spring... I wonder how I could sneak them in, so that the kids won't reject them simply because they are pine cones. My husband is a "bit" more tolerant... he says, "Well, if it helps the budget." :)

Pine trees have anti viral, anti tumor and anti bacterial properties, so I like finding ways to use them to improve our health. I couldn't find any ways to eat or ingest full grown pine cones... except for using the pine nuts .... and the pine nuts on our trees are too tiny to bother with. SO, I guess the pine cones will be used for decoration or as fire starters here.

As I write this, I am drinking a cup of pine needle tea...   I started a pan of water to boil, then cut up lots of pine needles into it and boiled slowly for about 1-2 minutes. The tea turned a bit yellow. After straining, I added honey... it is fresh unprocessed honey, and it came out faster than I expected, so the pot of tea was sweeter than I intended.  My kids all drank a cup of it also (because Mom asked them to)... we have had sickness here.... the respiratory virus and more and I am starting to have a bit more energy so that I can try even more things to get us well and build immunity. Pine needles have a decent amount of vitamin C as well as other goodies.

Some of the kids liked it, and one son KNEW he would hate it (before he even tried it) because he saw a couple of stray pine needles on the counter and suspected what kind of tea it was. *Sigh*   Ever since I made  Redbud Chef Salad
he has been suspicious... after all, there was no hiding those pretty redbud flowers in the salad. He thought it unmanly to eat "PINK" flowers. He remains on the lookout for anything I might add to our food that isn't "normal"...  hmmm...  We have a good natured on-going argument about the benefits of all that God has provided in the wild.... and the desire for "regular" food, which he also gets PLENTY of, so don't feel too sorry for him. :)  As you know if you have read my blogs for long - especially the Gentle Joy Homemaker blog, you will see that we do cook a lot of wonderful foods... in large quantities and he gets plenty to eat!  The ironic thing is that he experiments also.... on all kinds of things (we call him The Professor, sometimes), but he draws the line at experimenting too much with food.  He loves my regular experiments where I have developed recipes like cranberry muffin bars and more... but doesn't want experiments with out of the ordinary foods. :)

As you can tell, there are still a LOT of pine cones on the tree waiting to come down.... too bad we can't eat them, but I'm sure I will find more uses for them.... and I will give many of them away...

I do plan to make some drawing salve from the sap of the pine tree.... it is so helpful... and there are many other things I can use the pine tree for, but no, apparently we can't eat the pine cones. :)   By the way, if  you search and experiment with wild edibles like I do, be sure to do lots of research.... there are so many wonderful things to use for food and health BUT there are also some dangerous things and you don't want to use the wrong thing. There is a lot of information available in books, online and more. Online research is great, BUT I would test the information as I do not believe you can trust all of it. With that said, though, there are a LOT of great things to learn.  :)

Thank you for visiting my blog today.....  :) 

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  1. What an interesting topic! I've never really thought about eating pine cones!
    Have a great day!

    1. Thank you.... We won't be eating them, but it was good to check it out. :) Thank you for visiting.

  2. I have never heard of pine needle tea. I will have to google that. :)
    Thank you for sharing

    1. It isn't something I would ever "crave", but knowing how nutritious it is, I can drink it now and then with no problem. :) Thank you for visiting.

  3. Hi Joy! I wonder if you can make a tincture out of the pinecones instead of actually eating them to get the benefits... Just a thought :) I like the idea of fire starters. There is a lovely craft project for making them in a book I have. I believe you dip them in candle wax followed by a sprinkle of glitter and place in cupcake trays until solid. I imagine it would smell nicely once lit :)

    Thank you also for taking the time and linking up with the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week. Happy Wednesday!

    1. I wondered about a tincture also, but found nothing about it... I do plan to make a tincture w/ pine needles... someday. *sigh* :) Your craft idea sounds wonderful and would make a great gift for someone. I would imagine you could also add essential oil smell to the pine cones also to make it even more fragrant. Thank you for the link up... and I will try to make it on time next week. :)

  4. Interesting. I never knew any of this except the pine nuts. The one thing I have done with pine needles is weave baskets and they were lovely, I must admit. Being a weaver of much, I wanted to try my hand at a pine needle basket and decided they were fun to weave. From the look of your trees, you have fairly long needles and the longer the better. I no longer do this as I live in South Texas where pine trees do not grow. Plus I did my share.
    Visiting from The Weekend Brew and glad to have come by.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. I have never done any pine needle weaving, but I am very interested after reading your comment... maybe we will experiment with it for a school project - thank you for mentioning it. So glad to have you visit - thank you. :)

  5. Hmmm...we have tons of pinecones. I have never thought to do anything with them. I need to think on this a little.

  6. I heard that the American Indian used to make pine needle tea from a garden tour at The Norfolk Botanical Gardens. I forget what special properties is has....

  7. I always used them as firestarters - they made the fire smell heavenly. Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre hop. Be sure to stop by at or one of the other hosts to submit another this week.

  8. Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop!
    (featured post this week)