After convincing Karl to try a piece of our Christmas tree, I asked him if he had any witty openings for this “How to Eat Your Christmas Tree” post. He says: “If you like trying new wild edibles, then this post is sure to have you on pines and needles.” And then, with a big cheesy grin, he laughed at himself like Steve Urkel.
So, there’s that.
I think it’s the next logical step in holiday decoration consumption, right? You dye hard boiled eggs at Easter… you eat them. You put out pumpkins and gourds at Halloween… you eat them. Why isn’t everyone eating their Christmas trees?
Yes! You really can eat that big evergreen covered in twinkly lights and sentimental ornaments- and you should! Pine and fir needles are a great source of nutrients, being especially high in vitamin C. And actually, our Christmas tree tasted quite good: a strong pine flavor with hints of mint and citrus.
Half an hour later, I had to eat a molasses Christmas cookie to get the pine taste out of my mouth. Actually, two molasses Christmas cookies. Chewing the needles straight-up probably isn’t the ideal way to eat your Christmas tree. It really needed some chicken or pork with it!
I’m not your doctor or your mother: eat at your own risk. Pregnant or breast feeding women and those who are allergic to pine should avoid eating pine needles. Three species are said to be poisonous by some sources: Yew, Ponderosa Pine, and Norfolk Island/Australian Pine (not a “true” pine anyways). I’d recommend that you identify the species of your Christmas tree before eating it, and also be mindful of where it came from and if it was spray-painted green (yes, they sometimes do that!) or possibly treated with pesticides. Trying to identify your tree? This is a helpful site! To put your mind at ease, California Poison Control System states that “Christmas Trees (Pine, Spruce & Fir): The needles can cause choking, but are non-toxic.”
Pro Tip: some trees taste better than others, so try a small piece of yours first to test the flavor.
Our tree came from my parents’ Christmas tree farm- so I know my tree is clean and organic. I bet you didn’t know I grew up on a tree farm?! On to the recipes- put that tree to good use and don’t let those vitamins and minerals go to waste with this collection of ways to eat, reuse and recycle your Christmas tree!
Just make sure you remove any ornaments and decorations before eating the Christmas tree… you wouldn’t want to get tinselitis.
Christmas Tree Pine Needle Recipes
Pine Needle Vinegar – can be used for making a flavorful dressing or for cleaning with.
Pine-Roasted Potatoes – cooked in a nest of pine needles, these potatoes look incredible!
Pine Needle Smoked Bacon – what?!? Fellow homegrown bacon-making friends, this one’s for you!
Christmas Tree Brined Pork Tenderloin – a simple and easy pork tenderloin recipe.
Foraged Evergreen Shortbread Cookies – use this recipe or adapt the technique to add pine needles to your favorite shortbread cookie recipe.
Pine Simple Syrup – use whatever sweetener you like for this. Use the finished syrup for cocktails!!
Non-Food Uses for Christmas Tree Pine Needles
Pine Needle Lip Embellishment – so, this isn’t something you make, but rather, on the subject of Pine, one of my favorite things that I can’t not tell you about. The BEST lip balms I’ve ever tried (I have the whole set) and adore…. everything about them. The scent, the texture of the balm, the earthiness, and even the tubes they come in!
Pine Needle Cough Syrup – a simple syrup with pine needles and honey to soothe sore throats give you a healthy dose of vitamin C.
Pine Bath Salts – this sounds like the perfect, relaxing Christmastime bath soak!
Blue Spruce Balm (for chapped hands) – I love this idea… I bet it smells just divine.
Sore Muscle Bath Soak – full of herbs and epsom salts to help calm over-worked muscles.
Pine Needle Potpourri – boiled in water with orange, cinnamon and other goodies, this will fill your whole house with the scent of amazingness!
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