Pine Needle Tea
(image via: 21 Food & Beverage Online)
Known as Tallstrunt in Swedish, Pine Needle Tea has been independently discovered by cultures worldwide wherever conifer forests can be found. When steeped in hot water, pine needles provide abundant vitamin A and especially vitamin C. According to The Outdoor Lab, “the fresh green needles have apparently five times the amount of vitamin C found in one lemon.” If pine trees aren’t found in your locale, check out your locale Asian market: a South Korean company makes Pine Needle Tea packaged in tea bags, ready to use.
(image via: Jen Arrr)
History has it that when French explorer Jacques Cartier and his men were suffering from scurvy during the harsh New World winter of 1535-36, members of the local Native American tribe took pity on them and recommended they consult their medicine man. The shaman brewed up a batch of Pine Needle Tea and within a week, Cartier’s men were revitalized – sort of like Thanksgiving but with moar pine.
(image via: Wikipedia/Juha Kämäräinen)
Native American peoples called a neighboring tribe known for harvesting Pine Bark for food the “Adirondack”, or “Pine Eaters”. What sustained them during long, hard, cold northeastern winters was indeed pine bark: specifically, the soft, pale and VERY edible inner bark that grows next to the interior wood of living or freshly fallen pine trees. The Adirondack knew what they were doing: like Pine Needle Tea, pine bark is very high in vitamins A and C. The ideal way to eat pine bark is to fry it to a crisp in oil, butter or bacon fat whereupon it can be eaten as is potato chip style, ground into flour for bread or used to thicken stews.