Evergreen Tea

Well, I have done as I said I would, and coaxed from nature a meal. Well, a food, technically.

Lately, despite the fact that the garden is starting to produce edible foodstuffs (the peas are delicious, and the lettuce/tomatoes/green beans/carrots aren’t far behind), I’ve been on a little foraging tangent lately. I blame the Omnivore’s Dilemma, which I’ve mentioned here before. Granted, he focused mostly on mushrooms, but as it’s too late in the year for morels, and I don’t think I’d trust myself to look for any other sort of mushroom, I’m focusing more on edible plants. Assisted greatly by a Field Guide to Edible Plants of Central and Eastern US, naturally.

Well, today I took my first tentative steps into the foraging world with a familiar and easily identifiable plant: the pine.

What’s that? You say you had no idea a pine was in any way edible? Yeah, well, me neither, and some people in my family would still agree with you. But I was pleasantly surprised. In case you haven’t figured from the title yet, the key is a certain amount of boiling water.

The Recipe:

  • Finely chop young, light green needles (older ones work, but not as well) from a pine (make sure it is a pine).
  • Steep in boiling water for 5-15 min. I am pretty sure the taste gets stronger, not more bitter, with time, so the timing isn’t terribly important.
  • Strain and sweeten to taste.

Yes, it’s just that simple. The book described it as aromatic and nutritious, being high in vitamins A and C. I wouldn’t take the lack of “delicious” there as an insult, since they also didn’t include “works in an emergency” like they did for some other edible plants. I could be wrong, but I doubt it is high in caffeine.

The tea is very light in color; mine was only a very pale green. It smells, not surprisingly, quite a lot like pine, and tastes, well, about like you would expect. It reminded me a little bit of Yerba Mate (the real stuff, not the additive for energy drinks), although Moi’s family would probably kill me for saying so. Oh well.

I’ll concede I didn’t drink much of it, but i suspect that has more to do with the temperature then the tea. I actually thought it was pretty good. More then that, I was impressed by the alchemy involved. It’s one thing to grow a plant in the garden and consume it’s fruit (and a delicious thing at that), but it’s an all together different thing to take a decorative or even wild plant and with special knowledge make something edible

For now, though, the local evergreens are safe; it’s too hot to drink a lot of tea. However, I am thinking of going out tomorrow to forage a little. I saw (having now seen it in the book and knowing what it looks like) what I think might be wild carrot, and there are lots of berries growing around. So I will set off with a nap-sack and my guide and try to find something munchable.

A fresh carrot actually sounds really good. Hmm. Wish me luck!

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One Response to “Evergreen Tea”

  1. mark Says:

    i like ever green tea to i tried it for the first time today it worked realy well is it considered green tea? and i heard some ever greens are poisonis is that true?

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