Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pine Needle Tea

This unusually cold and long-lasting winter has me down. And I suspect that it has taken its toll on you, too. I’m scouring my shelves for wild foods that I have preserved and though I still have plenty of dandelions and goosetongue on hand, they are only a substitute for fresh, wild green things.

With ankle-deep snow on the ground and nighttime temperatures well below zero (it was minus-6 last night), the possibility of some early-season foraging seems quite remote. But there is something we can harvest right now and in fact, it was available all winter. Tree tea.

Some conifers offer a delicious and healthful (vitamin C) tea. The needles (leaves) are picked fresh, chopped up, covered with boiling water and steeped. White pine is my favorite source of tree tea. It has a pleasant scent that relaxes me. Any pine is suitable for tea-making purposes, though.

So I will go out today and break my way through the snow crust to the nearest white pine, gather a handful of needles and bring them back inside for a nice, hot cup of white pine tea.

In other news, my schedule is filling up for summertime field trips and seminars. I might mention to anyone looking for a fun few hours this summer, that I’m at Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor every Tuesday, beginning on July 8 and continuing through August 26. I believe my sessions begin at 12:30 p.m. and last until 2:p.m., but the exact time is yet to be determined. Nonetheless, I mention this for the following reason.

Spruce Point Inn hires me for the benefit of their clients. We walk the grounds and I identify different wild plants and explain their uses. The inn owners kindly allow non-clients to participate as well. So if any readers of this blog would like to have a fun, relaxing time some Tuesday afternoon this summer, just come to Spruce Point Inn and join my plant walk.

I’ll post the exact date as the season nears, but with so many people “thinking spring” at this point, I wanted to reiterate the offer of coming to Boothbay Harbor and walking around the grounds of this scenic peninsula, searching for wild plants.

Readers may feel free to contact me about this any time. You have my contact information on the bio portion of this blog.

Meanwhile, take heart. The cold may try and convince us that winter will never leave, but the nighttime sky tells a different story. The springtime constellation Leo the Lion is coming up now and the sun grows stronger with each passing day. Spring will come. It’s just a matter of time. 

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