It’s no secret that I love Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival.
I own the first season on DVD, for goodness sake! Nerdy? Maybe. But I’m too old to shy away from that anymore, I just embrace it!
Anyway… Dual Survival is the first place I learned about pine needle tea. Dave Canterbury was sitting there in the middle of nowhere with no food and he starts boiling some pine needles! Say whaaat??
It turns out that pine needles are extremely high in vitamin c* – several times more then orange juice! Who knew?! I did a little research and found that not only that, but pine needles have awesome antioxidant levels and are a potent antimicrobial^. Apparently the Native Americans gave pine needle tea to early colonists to help them survive scurvy – which is an illness caused by a vitamin c deficiency.
Pine needles make the perfect survival tea because if you find yourself in the wilderness without many provisions your body is under a lot of stress and therefore vulnerable. So just find yourself a pine tree and give your stressed body an immune boost! This would be great for camping, hiking, or canoeing too. And even if you aren’t in some dire survival situation in the woods somewhere, this is an awesome way to boost your immune system to survive this crazy time of year when colds and flus are lurking around every corner.
Oh, and it’s free! You don’t even have to wait to use your old Christmas tree. You totally could, but … foraging, anyone??
Before we get to boiling up those pine needles though, let’s cover a few simple precautions.
- Not all pines are safe to consume. Avoid these species of pine as they can be poisonous and cause you to become ill. (luckily for me these don’t grow in my area, so that makes my job easier;) )
- If you’re pregnant and stuck alone in the woods, this isn’t your survival tea. Pine needles have been linked to miscarriages, so just say no to pine needle tea my prego friends.
Ok, so you’re not pregnant, and you’ve identified a safe pine tree, let’s make some pine needle tea, shall we??
First collect the greenest pine needles you can and clean them off well. Make sure they aren’t from trees that have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.
Then remove the papery ends, and cut the needles in to smaller pieces – this is just for convenience as it makes them easier to get into the cup.
Put a heaping tablespoon or so onto a square of cheesecloth. Tie it up with some bakers twine, to make yourself a pine needle tea bag!
Heat some water until just before boiling – boiling can destroy the vitamin c, which is what we’re after in the first place!
Pour over your pine needle tea bag and let seep for about 10 minutes.
And then all that’s left is to enjoy a mild tasting, soothing and nourishing tea!
Have you heard of pine needle tea before?? Would you try it?