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Edible Pine Trees 

 November 10, 2020

By  Mike Millerson

Edible pine trees can taste really well. Ever tried pine needles, pine nuts, cones, or spruce spikes and seeds? Well, if you are to survive in the wilderness, you should learn that the things mentioned above make a great and nutritious harvest. You can also make tea using them. To learn what parts to eat and how to cook them, read on and find out in our article.

No matter how much survival food you prepare, it will come to an end sooner or later. On top of that, imagine you are lost in the middle of a pine forest with no hope of getting food because your fishing pole or YoYo reels are lost along with the rest of your gear. It would seem that the end is about to come. But no, do not despair. You can find food in the midst of this wilderness.

In fact, food is everywhere around you. You have to look right.

We are talking about pines. Yes, you can eat a pine tree.

This food will not be as delicious as freshly caught fried fish or freeze-dried food, but it is something that will save you from starvation and give you strength. A pine tree is delicious (especially you will like this plant after a hunger strike).

A pine tree is not easy to eat. You can not just start chewing on it. Nevertheless, it is a survival skill that can and should be learned. And then you will not be unarmed in front of the wild, even if you have nothing left.

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A Few Rules For Eating Pine Trees

We welcome a careful and conscientious attitude to nature, so eating pine should be less harmful to pine trees. Besides, this tree saves your life, so it will be appropriate not to ruin it.

There are several rules for carefully eating pine tree:

1. Recognize a Poisonous Pine Tree

In addition to the rules aimed at preserving the health of the pines, you need to preserve your health, namely, not to eat the pine’s poisonous species.

Inedible pines:

  • the Yew
  • Norfolk Island Pine
  • Ponderosa Pines (Western Yellow Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, or Black Jack Pine).

Watch the video below on how to recognize the poisonous Yew pine tree.

Edible pines include:

  • Black and Red spruce
  • White Pine
  • Slippery Elm
  • Balsam fir
  • Yellow and Black birch

If you come across White pine, you are in luck, as it is considered the most delicious pine tree.

It is very important to be able to recognize a poisonous tree in front of you, so keep this information in mind.

2. Choose Mature Trees

Pines age can be up to 100-200 years old. And the older they are, the stronger and higher they will be. Mature pine trees are more likely to survive after human intervention. Therefore, do not choose young and short trees.

3. Distribute the Damage

It is better to take a little from several trees than to take the entire harvest from one.

This will scatter your action and cause less damage, and pine trees will have a better recovery chance. If you need pine cones, go for the ones that have already fallen off.

4. Cut Only Small Pieces of Pine Bark

To prevent the tree’s disease or death, you only need to gouge out small pieces of bark. Use a knife for this. If collecting needles from pine, also take a small amount from each tree.

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northern hardwood forest

Pros of Adding Pine Trees to Your Diet

If you get lost in the forest without food sources, then the main plus is obvious — you will not die of hunger if there is a pine tree nearby. An untrained person is unlikely to think of eating a pine tree (although hunger is no joke), but we have the opportunity to get this skill in advance.

In addition, pine trees contain many vitamins and nutrients. So their use will not only save you from starvation but also replenish the supply of vitamins. No matter the bark, pine pollen, the needles, or pine cones, any part of the tree contains fiber and vitamin C.

Pines were widely used to treat scurvy, which was common in the 18th century. Scurvy is a serious illness that can cause death and develops with a lack of vitamin C. Its effects are weakness, soreness in the limbs, fatigue, and even bleeding through the skin. Therefore, it is crucial to have in your diet foods rich in vitamin C. Usually, these are fruits, but if they are not available, then a pine tree is perfect, especially if you know how to prepare it deliciously.

Edible Parts of The Pine Tree

1 – Pine Needle Tea

For this method, you need pine needles, only needles without any other pine parts. Collect them and chop finely with a knife.

Add the needles to boiling water and let sit for a couple of minutes. When the water becomes similar in color to green tea, you can drink it, having previously filtered the needles.

Pine needle tea will not only warm you but also enrich your body with minerals and vitamins. Also, it is a delicious drink.

Climb into your sleeping bag or cover up with Tact Bivvy and sip on this aromatic and healthy pine needle tea.

2 – Pine Nuts

Unlike pine needles, not all pine trees always have nuts.

You can get the most plentiful harvest of pine nuts in September and October. At the same time, nuts are tastier and more nutritious. Some nuts are available all year round, but the tastiest ones, pinyon pine seeds, are rare.

A large harvest of pinyon seeds usually occurs every 2 years, and sometimes even 7 years. Also, pinyon pine is only found in the western regions of the United States. But if you are lucky and you have met such a pine, be sure to enjoy its delicious seeds.

Nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Just collect the fallen round cones and remove the nuts from them.

It is the tastiest product that pine can provide and has beneficial nutrients.

3 – Pine Pollen

Pine pollen is a good alternative to flour. It can be used to make, for example, dough for buns or bread. Pine pollen also makes for a stew thickener.

Unfortunately, this protein and other nutrient-rich food are only available in the spring. In the spring, male cones flower bloom, the pine pollen of which is used in food.

The male cones look like an inverted bunch of bananas.

Collecting pine pollen will take time, as you need to shake the pollen from many cones into a container to collect the required amount of pine pollen.

4 – Pine Bark

Unlike many people, we will know that pine bark is edible and can feed us in a survival situation.

To eat pine bark, you must prepare it properly. It is important that not all bark parts are edible. You should eat only inner pine bark.

To use the bark, you need to cut small strips from the bark. Each strip should be about 1/10 of the circumference of the tree. This will allow the tree to heal its wounds after you damage its bark. Always cut one strip at a time from many trees.

As we said, the outer bark is not edible, so you need to get the inner part from the bark strips. Take a knife and some sturdy object such as a stick or better stone. Stick the tip of the knife into the bark and hammer it deeper with a handy tool. Press the blade down to form a vertical line on the tree bark.

Make two of these cuts to form a vertical strip. Peel off the strip from top to bottom. Be sure to make sure to take the outer bark and the inner bark you need.

Use a pocket knife to separate the white meat of the inner bark. This is the part you will be using.

How to Eat a Pine Tree Bark

1. Roast pine bark

This method will give you the tastiest pine bark dish, but it is also the most energy-consuming route and requires additional ingredients. Remove outer bark, cut the inner bark pieces into thin strips, and fry them in a pan using olive oil, animal fat, or butter. Add salt if present. This nutritious and flavorful dish will taste like potato chips.

2. Boil pine bark

Thanks to this method, you will have two ready-made dishes at once, directly boiled bark and pine needle tea. Boil the bark so that it is more easily absorbed by the stomach and does not cause discomfort. And based on the remaining water, brew tea from pine needles, as we described above. It will be richer and more flavorful.

3. Eat raw inner bark

If you are unlucky and do not have any tools, you can eat raw bark. Yes, it will not be too tasty, and perhaps your stomach will not be very happy about such food, but you will be saturated with useful substances and will not die of hunger.

4. Make pine bark flour

This is the most time-consuming method, but it opens the door to a variety of recipes and cooking methods. People can use it as an ordinary flour substitute.

  • Dry the thin inner bark pieces in direct sunlight or fire (but be careful not to burn the bark).
  • Rub dry strips with stones or special equipment, if available.
  • Grind into a fine powder.

You can then use pine flour to make the dough and then bread, rolls, or as a breading.

A Few Words About The History of Eating Pine Trees

In North America, people have been using pine trees as a food source since the tribes of The Great Basin. Moreover, it was their main source of food, especially pine nuts.

Thanks to the pine trees, tribes could travel remote distances from home without worrying about the lack of food, because they could always eat a pine tree.

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To Sum Up

Pine pollen, bark, or pine cones are unlikely to fit into your daily diet (which is not the case with pine nuts, they are consumed on an ongoing basis). But as food for survival or as fun while hiking, pine is definitely something you need to try. Many people do not even imagine that they will be in the middle of an excellent food source if they get lost in a pine forest. An edible pine tree can save your life if you are left without food and only have a knife or sharp object.

And in ancient times, people even treated scurvy with the help of edible species of pine. After all, any part of pine, be it pine cone, pine needle, pine pollen, nuts, or inner bark, is a great vitamin C source.

Thanks to these plants, a person can maintain his life for a very long time.

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FAQ

Can I eat pine needles?

The thing that you might not have thought about that might be edible is a pine needle. Pine needles are edible when prepared correctly, namely in the form of tea. Collect the required quantity of pine needles, finely chop them and fill them with hot water. After the tea is infused, strain the needles, and that is it, the drink is ready.

Which pine trees are safe for tea?

Tea can be made from all non-toxic pine tree needles. Toxic pines include Ponderosa Pine, Yew, Norfolk Island pine. The pine needles of the rest of the trees are suitable for making tea. To make pine needle tea, collect the needles, chop them finely, and pour water over them. Then strain the pine needles and enjoy a flavorful drink.

Which pine trees are edible?

The pine tree can be a great escape for people lost in the forest and lacking any other foods. The edible and non-harmful pine species include White pine, Black and Red spruce, Yellow and Black birch, Slippery elm, balsam fir.

Are there any poisonous pine trees?

Although pine trees are edible, this does not apply to all trees. Some of the plants are poisonous and dangerous to people. Never eat Pinus Ponderosa pine, Yew, Norfolk Island pine.

Mike Millerson

A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively. In the core of his principal mission is a desire to be a helpful guide into the world of survival for all those who seek practical advice in the rapidly changing world.

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