Pine Needle and Pine Cone Tea
What do pine needles and pine cone tea taste like? Well, in my opinion, it tastes somewhat bitter without adding sweetener. It's earthy and piney, and of course, it smells like you're steeping a pine tree. Pine tea is loaded with vitamin C, and it's the perfect drink for cold and flu season. However, avoid using pine needles and pine cones from Norfolk Island Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and Yew. These pine varieties are toxic.
If you don’t have access to green pine needles, you can use dried pine needles to prepare pine tea. In fact, if you were to buy pine tea, you'd find that the pine needles in the tea bags are dried. So, there's no big difference between collecting dried pine needles or buying them already dried.
Dried pine needles contain higher amounts of vitamin C than green pine needles. However, if you prefer a milder tea, you would probably prefer using green pine needles.
To prepare pine needle tea, first collect some pine needles, then wash them well under cold running water. After that, coarsely chop the pine needles with a knife, or you can cut them into small pieces with scissors.
You will need a tea ball or pre-made bags to place the cut pine needles in. You can use cheesecloth or clean pantyhose material to steep the pine needles in, but if you don't own any of these materials, use a small mesh strainer to place the pine needles in. The mesh strainer can be placed where only the bottom of it is in the water when you're steeping the pine needles.
Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared pine needles inside a tea ball, tea bag, or whatever else you have on hand that can be used.
In a saucepan or kettle, add water. (I add about 4 cups of water to my pan.) Place the pan or kettle on the burner and bring the water to a boil. Turn the burner off and pour the water into cups, then steep the prepared pine needles in the water. I also just steeped the pine needles in a mesh strainer over the pan of hot water. Making sure that the bottom of my mesh strainer is in the hot water and my pine needles are submerged.
Allow the pine needles to steep in the hot water for 15 minutes.
Add your preferred sweetener and stir in a squeeze of lemon (if you like lemon tea).
Preparing Pine Cone Tea:
First, wash the pine cones well in cool, running water.
In a saucepan, add water and place it on the burner. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a slow simmer.
Now, you can either place the pine cones directly in the pan of water or you can use just the pine cone scales. Whichever way you decide is fine.
Steep the pine cone or the pine cone scales for several minutes. I generally allow 15 to 25 minutes. Turn the burner off after the first 5 minutes of steeping.
Next, remove the pine cones or pine cone scales from the tea.
Pour your tea into cups and add your preferred sweetener.
Avoid using pine needles and pine cones from Norfolk Island Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and Yew when making pine tea.
Do not drink pine needle or pine cone tea if you are allergic to pine or if you're taking warfarin, a prescription drug that is used to treat people who have issues with blood clotting.
If you're allergic to pine, some allergic reactions include nausea, discomfort in your throat, and diarrhea.
This article was written for educational purposes only. I recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products and any type of wild edibles, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking any type of prescription medication.
Dluzen, B. (2022) Vitamin C is hiding in white pine needle tea, The Detroit News. Available at: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/home-garden/blogs/gardening/2022/01/25/white-pine-needle-tea-contains-large-amounts-natural-vitamin-c/9209783002/ (Accessed: 22 September 2023).
Firstmedincad (2022) How much vitamin C in Pine Needle Tea, First Med Inc. Available at: https://www.firstmedinc.com/how-much-vitamin-c-in-pine-needle-tea/ (Accessed: 22 September 2023).