I know what you’re thinking. I used to feel that way too. After buying that Christmas tree, carting it home, setting it up, entering the hell of tangled Christmas tree lights, watering it so it won’t dry out, making sure it doesn’t fall over sideways and taking endless Instagrams of it, you don’t want to do anything else but get rid of it as soon as possible. But in these uncertain days, it’s important we all learn whatever options there are for survival. Even in NYC, we can eat our tree if we ever have to, in a time of hunger.
Ready to eat your tree? Not yet? Have a shot of pine liqueur, it will give you courage. Note: If you do decide to try some pine recipes, be sure that the type of pine you’re using is the right one – not all pine trees are made the same.
Pine nuts were eaten in Ancient Rome. Soak pine nuts overnight and prepare them with eggs for a historic breakfast.
The first time I read of pine needles in a recipe in a contemporary cookbook was in The Cooking of Southwest France 1983 by Paula Wolfert, where she mentions cooking mussels on a thick bed of pine needles. The mussels will absorb the needles’ taste as it seeps into their juice.
These Korean rice cakes with pine needles look utterly delicious.
Photo by Signe Birck
Emma Bengtsson (one of three female chefs with two Michelin stars) at New York’s Aquavit often brings surprising ingredients into her food, House Made Cheese with Pine and Apricot.
A brilliant early adopter of cooking with pine, Laurie Constantino offers recipes for coniferous dishes at her blog, Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska.
The pine trend is validated in an Op-Ed at The New York Times in The Giving Tree, with recipes for pine butter, oil and vinegar 2010.
Nobody does pine like hit Copenhagen spot Noma. Chef René Redzepi uses spruce to liven up grilled pears.
The Splendid Table gets in on the act with these simple conifer recipes.
San Francisco spot Saison is known for pushing the envelope, offering food that’s both beautiful and innovative like this pine tea.
Serious Eats explores more complicated recipes, moving into the realm of pine cocktails, ice cream and vinaigrette.
Karen Resta is a writer, a food culturalist, and a sometimes-fashionista who mostly loves ice cream and Brooklyn.