Pine Needle Tea, other gathered tea, have you ever had any? Would you try it?

@writersedge (22577)
United States
February 4, 2009 8:38am CST
I tried the pine needles from white pine. I sucked on a needle first, tasted like turpentine (I can see why they use it to make paper and furniture). Got the taste out of my mouth and tried a Canadian Pine. Not bad. Balsom was pretty strong, too. Like perfume. I wish we had spruce. Blue spruce is popular up here and Black spruce gum was sold until modern chickle replaced it. I've heard spruce is good and way better. Pine and Spruce needles are a winter tea that can be gathered as long as you are far enough away from the road, sewer/septics, etc toxins (like car driveways and roadways). Never, ever gather cedar. It's poisonous. Cedar oil is pressed/steamed out for use in guns, but the resulting water is dangerous, I heard it killed a cow once in a few seconds. So if you've tried winter teas, which one or ones do you like best? If you haven't, would you consider it? Tea is $2.70 on sale for one or two ounces right now. It's dried plant stuff that a person could gather. Not on sale, it's $3.70. Per pound, it is one of the most expensive things we buy, but could also be free if gathered. Finding a good day to gather it this winter has been a challenge, but I think a good day will come soon.
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5 responses
@carolbee (16231)
• United States
4 Feb 09
This discussion is very interesting. I'm amazed at all the useful information you have on various subjects. I am not much of a tea drinker. I do like ice tea in the summer but it doesn't quench my thirst like water will do on a hot day. Hot tea doesn't interest me much even when I'm sick. I'd prefer to have a cup of hot chocolate. I like coffee and will go out of my way to find it in the morning if we are traveling. When home, that's the first thing I do in the morning is make a pot of coffee.
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@carolbee (16231)
• United States
4 Feb 09
And I will continue to polish your ego since this is an amazing discussion. I'm a big city girl and know nothing about the wild or making food from surroundings. I only know to go to the store and buy things for dinner...lol
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@writersedge (22577)
• United States
4 Feb 09
You would have loved a friend of mine. Her family really had my respect. Both parents old and disabled. 7 kids, 2 were boys. 1 acre garden for 80% of their food. Berry and wild apple picking to freeze and for fruit. Raised pigs for meat as well as hunted deer and caught fish. 95% of the food from their own resources. They would also trade and sell extra fish. The girls gardened, the boys hunted, fished and took care of the pigs. I thought they were soooo cool. They qualified for food stamps, but they mostly bought stuff extra with that in case they had a bad year and since they didn't have cows, dairy products and the few things they needed that they couldn't supply. People were amazed that people on food stamps donated to the poor. They didn't consider themselves poor, but people with no land in cities, they thought they were poor.
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@carolbee (16231)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Quite an interesting family. They must have been amazing.
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@PearlGrace (3171)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Hi writersedge. I don't think I'm interested in tasting tea made from various pine trees and the like. It just doesn't sound tasty. I drink a tea called "Calm" made by Tazo and I think it has chamomile and other herbs in it. I like it. I think it's so cool that you know all about stuff like Pine Needle teas. I never even knew there was such a thing until I read your myLot discussion.
@writersedge (22577)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Actually the Native Americans in my area drank that tea and ate the bark (inner cambian layer, not the outside bark-can be used like pasta)from those trees as well as birch and maple. Eating fresh pine needles when you're lost in the woods or in the woods in winter may be your ownly source of vitamen C. White pine is nasty, like turpentime, but Canadian Pine, amazingly different. Spruce, don't knock it unless you've tried it. I'm too old for spruce gum, could take the fillings out of my teeth to chew it, but sucking on it, very fine. There was a company that sold black spruce gum in the Adirondacks. In the low lands, it's mostly blue spruce if you're lucky enough to have it. Also black birch. If you like wintergreen, black birch bark smells and tastes just like it. Same ingredient as in wintergreen. Lowlands, mostly white and yellow birch. Chateaugay, NY has lots of black birch and not sure why. Chamomille, that is a weed in many places and many people feel the same way as you do about pine needles toward chamomile. Personally, I like pineapple weed which looks like chamomile except the middle comes up like a cone and smells like pineapple when you scratch it. They're cousins and Pineapple weed has more taste. But both are good and I want to grow both. So there you have it, more than anyone living where you live needs to know about cold area trees. Plus the cousin of chamomile. I've seen people starving and 2 feet from their home were enough wild food plants for at least one meal. I'm not saying that most people have enough wild food to give up a grocery store. But people who are on food stamps and three days short at the end of every month could make it through the entire month to the next pay check if they knew how to do wild foods. People should know enough about wild foods for an emergency situation or to supplement food stamps. If one meal a week were wild or a wild item per day or even every other day, they could probably make it.
1 person likes this
@peavey (16960)
• United States
4 Feb 09
Since I live in town now, I don't do much winter gathering unless you include rose hips. I have a beautiful blue spruce in my back yard but I'm afraid to use it because of so much traffic.
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@writersedge (22577)
• United States
4 Feb 09
Rose hips, rose hips! How wonderful! I would love some rose hip tea. Too bad we don't live close to each other. I hope some day we find some gatherers near each other on here. I have tried the hips from my garden roses, but they usually rot or fungus up before they get nice or freeze instead of dry. I envy you your rose hips. Thanks and take care.
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@pergammano (7690)
• Canada
5 Feb 09
Very, very good topic....but I must relate that I don't have much to add in the conifer teas, as I find most of them have an acrid taste! (Just me!) But I do spend a lot of time in the Fall gathering Wild Rose Hips...ljust after the first frost (that sweetens them)...and they are loaded with Vitamin C. We do have lots of Nettles as well...and it makes a very nutrional tea! As I think about your post, I am surrounded by all the conifers you mention...and haven't tried your lead! But as a child we used to pick the sap bubbles off Douglas Fir ONLY...and use it as chewing gum! We also, collected the sap from Douglas Fir....and mixed it with an ointment called "Zambuk"...half & half for all wounds (antiseptic & antibacterial)! I wonder if Zambuk is even available anymore?
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@writersedge (22577)
• United States
5 Feb 09
Most do have quite the taste. White pine turpentine rhymes! But every once in a while you get a really good one that tastes either tolerable or great! you're the second person to have wild rose hips. Wish I had some. I don't think I have any Douglas Firs here. The spruce gum has been used the same as your D Firs. Black Spruce gum from the Adirondacks was sold before Chickle was used. Nice that you know what I'm talking about! Yes, many people don't realize that rose hips are loaded with Vitamin C. Winter teas were very important for that including the tea needles. Kept people from getting scurvy. Thanks and take care.
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@writersedge (22577)
• United States
7 Feb 09
Chickweed egg salad sandwiches are my specialty and wild food lasagna. One layer of anything you find in lasagna is great! We have yellow dock seeds for baking and evening primrose seeds. As things come up, I usually put some kind of a discussion on mylot. Used to have a wild food pot luck once a month at my house. One woman came with wild cranberry jelly. That was terrific. Thanks and take care.
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• Canada
8 Feb 09
Within a very short distance of my home (some in yard) we have Oregon grapes, Salal berries, Blackberries, saskatoons, salmon berries, nettles, miner's lettuce and a plethora of mushrooms! I am sure there are things I have not mentioned like the rose hips! Oh, huckleberries & wild strawberries! Haven't had "lamb's quarters" since I lived in the interior of B.C. If you are not a seafood/shellfish lover this is not the place for you! Mussels,clams,oysters, crab, salmon, & cod..all to be harvested with a few miles. Normally, my kale grows all winter, even up thru the snow. It's a hardy plant! Love this discussion you started! My son has landed safely in Brazil...but is very unhappy with his hotel...and he is not picky...it's a 4-star, but he thinks the janitor must have rated it! LOL!
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@ElicBxn (61148)
• United States
4 Feb 09
I live in a large city. I don't have a way to get out far enough away from roads without running the risk of running into insects, a lot of whos stings I'm allergic to, and then I also risk running into even more dangerous things, like rattle snakes... no, I don't gather, I'm lucky enough to be able to shop!
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@writersedge (22577)
• United States
4 Feb 09
Another excellent point! Gathering in the winter time, no bugs. Ha, ha. With the ecomony the way it is going, we will all be lucky if we can shop soon!
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