Tree eating is growing on me. Last year, I developed an appreciation for a variety of edible tree buds, leaves, fruits, nuts and even saps, but harvesting the inner bark to make flour just didn’t tempt me. Just not that hungry.I gave a copy of Linda’s great book, Eat the Trees, to a wild foodie friend, Taylor and she is the impetus for expanding my horizon beyond the easy pickins to the inner gifts of trees.
Pine is an amazing gift. Not only is the whole tree edible but it’s medicinal qualities are stellar. It is anti microbial, anti septic, an expectorant, high in Vitamin C… to name a few of it’s virtues. It was too cold to collect sap but that is on my ‘bucket list’. Though I have great respect for this tree I can’t say my stomach growls with anticipation of eating it. It is considered a starvation food. The tea however is lovely and Pine needle popsicles are a tasty Summer treat. 🙂 The whole tree has edible and nutritious gifts: pine nuts, catkins, needles, twigs, inner bark, sap for it’s healing qualities…
Though the smell of Pine was heavy in the air I am afraid that we would have starved if it were up to our ability to really ‘bring home the bacon’. My mentor, Linda Runyon, used to whip up a meal of Pine in no time. She would have laughed at us but I’m sure she would be proud that we at least attempted this. I’ll send her pics!
Holly, I did take some pics, but you really can’t tell much. But I did find this great video that shows it really well (if you can get past the music). The big thing that I work at is the change in textures between the bark, the cambium and the inner hard wood. The cambium is soft and slippery. But this video is almost exactly what happened with my pines, although I used a draw knife. Also, he boils it, which I thought was just nasty.
So here is the skinny…. the pine INNER bark that we gouged out last time is not tasty. It is like eating a pine board from the hardware store, but the middle layer is the live cambium found JUST under the protective outer bark. This is moist and it tastes like Pine nuts (which I love). I dehydrated a bunch of this and can’t wait to make it into flour. Heather, just sent me her Pine flour donut recipe and I will be experimenting soon.