For hundreds of years travelers and explorers have used these pine needles, which are extremely rich in Vitamin C, to avoid scurvy as well as for many other medicinal purposes. Today we try to make some at home and taste it for ourselves.
Making Pine Needle Tea is extremely simple and be completed in 3 easy steps. However, please be cautious: you can't make this drink with any pine tree. Make sure you are harvesting your needles from a White Pine, Yellow Pine, or Eastern Hemlock, and stay away from Lodgepole Pine, Monterey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Norfolk Pine (Australian Pine), Loblolly Pine, Common Juniper, and Yew as these could make you sick or otherwise poison you. Please make sure you do your research before you try this for yourself. You have been warned!
The basic steps we took were:
1. Harvest fresh or dried pine needles - We harvested our pine needles from the Eastern White Pine tree in the alley.
2. Rinse pine needles with cold water - make sure there's no dirt or small insects hiding in there.
3. Steep in hot water for 5-10 minutes - don't boil the needles with the water, this will release turpentines that will make the tea taste overwhelmingly medicinal. Pour the hot water over the needles and let it steep. The longer you let it steep the stronger the tea will be.
How does it taste? Not the best, honestly. You get a nice dose of Vitamin C and possibly some allergy relief. But, as Connie from Steven Universe so eloquently stated, "it's not about tasting good; it's about surviving the punishment of nature." The taste did grow on us, however. We definitely would be willing to try it again, maybe next time trying it with some lemon or other "flavor enhancers."
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