Let us talk about pine needle tea, how awesome it tastes, how good it is for you, and how it remained unknown to me for so long.
I tried pine needle tea for the first time at the Amelia Wildlife Refuge just outside of Richmond Virginia in November of 2014. I had first heard about pine needle tea on a Survivorman or Bear Grylls show or something, but I never thought much about it. They mentioned the vitamin C and a few other things, but that was it. So I did a little digging and gave it a try and here is what a found.
History and benefits
So apparently this tea has been around forever, the Native Americans drank it, and the early colonist drank it to ward off scurvy. It has been drunk by explorers and natives all around the world. It is supposed to have 4-5 times more vitamin C than orange juice, super high in vitamin A and is said to work as a decongestant, remedy for cold, flu, antiseptic, reduce triglycerides, and many other benefits.
So it is super simple to make. You just pull some needles off a pine tree, pull off the woody base piece, and throw them in some water (I use the GSI Kettle). Put it over the fire and bring it to a boil.
10-15 minutes later the water has leached all the flavors, oils and minerals from the needles and they have turned wilted and drab green in color.
Simply discard the needles and enjoy the tea. The tea takes on a slight pale green huh with a little glaze of pine oil on top of the water, and it has a light juniper Christmas tree smell with a rich buttery taste. None of the tastes or smells are overpowering as I was would have thought. They are all very mild and subtle. I have never tasted it with sugar added, but I will next time.
*Update* It taste great with sugar, good enough to drink at home and something magical in the woods!
It taste great, it is good for you, so give it a try and let me know what you think.