How To Cook Your Christmas Tree (Really)

by Tefal Team on 02 January 2018
  • What do you do with your Christmas tree after Twelfth Night? Put it back in the box for next year? Leave it out for the bin man? Take it to be recycled? Cook it? No, you haven’t been staring at the screen for too long, some people cook and eat bits of their Christmas tree (real, not artificial, we must stress!) after the festive season is over.

    After spending hours deciding which tree to buy, decorating it to the sound of Michael Buble and enjoying the festivities by its twinkling glow, your Christmas tree can begin to feel like an extra family member by the end of December. The house feels incredibly empty and deflated after it’s gone, so the prospect of cooking and eating bits of it may feel a little like cannibalism.

  • But did you know that pine needles are actually really good for you? Largely because they force you into extra exercise as you battle with the vacuum to clean them off your floor, but they’re also a great source of vitamin C and natural antioxidants (not the ones you’ve just vacuumed! We’re talking about different ones!) which is just what your body needs in the middle of winter to help keep colds and flu at bay.

    Sounds good, but how exactly is one meant to eat a pine needle? They sound pretty prickly and we imagine it would be pretty unpleasant trying to chew and swallow even one. Luckily, that’s not the intention. Here’s a few ideas for eating your Christmas tree in a safe and tasty way (that’s not a sentence we ever dreamt of writing):

  • Pine needle tea

    One of the most common (apparently) ways to cook up pine needles – or spruce needles, as our friends across the pond tend to call them – is to turn them into tea. Adding them to your brew will create a slightly citrusy yet earthy flavour. It might take some getting used to, but you’ll be giving your immune system a bit of a boost by drinking it, so be brave and give it a go!

  • The Geordie Forager explains that pine needles should be finely chopped into tiny pieces and boiled with a little lemon juice to create a unique infusion. The piney taste will be stronger the longer you leave the needles boiling, so maybe start with just a minute or two to work out what suits your taste buds.

    We’re not saying you should give up your milky cuppas completely, but having a pine needle tea every now and again as you would a green tea will help to make sure your body is benefiting from antioxidants and plenty of vitamin C.

  • Mushrooms sauteed with pine needles

    Garlic mushrooms are a classic and an incredibly easy starter or side dish to whip up. If you’re trying to impress though and want to create something a little bit different, The Kitchen Frau’s recipe for buttery sauteed mushrooms with spruce tips and chives is really special.

  • It’s inspired by her childhood in Canada, which was often spent foraging for food, so it’s full of earthy, natural goodness. Of course, you don’t need to go scrambling through the woods trying to work out which tree is a spruce, as you’ve got your Christmas tree to eat instead (all this is still making us a little bit sad).

  • Pine needle pesto

    Pine nuts are a common ingredient in pesto, but pine needles can be used too, without affecting the traditional taste too much. NutriPlanet has a great recipe for oil-free vegan pesto that incorporates pine needles.

  • You could add it to your salads for some extra tastiness as you kickstart your healthy eating this January, or use it to coat chicken before cooking and serving with chips made in your Tefal ActiFry.

  • Shortbread with pine needles

    A Virtual Vegan’s recipe for pine needle shortbread encourages you to turn your biscuits into Christmas tree shapes, but this could be viewed as insensitive by some. It’s a bit like serving beef steak in a cow shape, you could argue.

  • You probably don’t want Christmas tree-shaped biscuits in January anyway, but you should still definitely make this excellent vegan shortbread, which has a really distinct flavour that has to be tasted to be believed.

  • Pine needle ice cream

    When it comes to ice cream flavours, we’ve always been perfectly fine with the classics: vanilla, chocolate, raspberry ripple and mint choc chip ain’t broke, so they don’t need fixing. But all kinds of new ice cream flavours have cropped up in recent years, from the tasty salted caramel to the frankly bizarre bacon and egg. And we thought neapolitan was mind-blowing.

    Well, what about pine needle ice cream? A genius way to recycle your Christmas tree? Or a step too far? Nevermind the Burdocks has an easy-to-follow recipe for it, which is worth a try if you’re bored of vanilla but aren’t quite ready for bacon and egg.

  • So, are you tempted to get cooking your Christmas tree? Or are you so horrified by the prospect that you’ll definitely be buying an artificial one in future so you don’t have to worry about your partner getting creative and putting pine needles in your tea?

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