Introduction: Pine Needle Syrup

Picture of Pine Needle Syrup

This will be the first out of many instructables from me.

I usually don't engulf myself that much into any cooking endeavours. However, I came across this little recipe in a book about having fun with your family in the forest. Since I have tried out just about everything with wood so far, I decided to try this one out. I suppose eating trees is the final step in being a complete treenerd.

For this project you will need:

An afternoon

A bunch of pine needles

Saucepen

Water

Measuring cup

Sugar

Nice Jar

Appetite

Step 1: Pillage a Christmas Tree!

Picture of Pillage a Christmas Tree!

I live right next to a Scandinavian pine forest and the most occuring pine we have arround here is red spruce.

I went out with my daughter to pick some young branches. We collected a bucket of small branches.

I used a small fork to strip the branches for needles. This is the most tedious part of the process. It takes some time to pull them all off. It is an importaint part, though. Any branches or treesap will affect the flavour, making it a bit "woody" or "sauna-y" to the taste.

This instructable is meant to be one you can do all year long, hence using the needles. However, if you want a rich and full flavour, pick the bright green pine buds during spring and use those. They are more sweet and filling to the taste.

Step 2: Clean and Boil Your Needles.

Picture of Clean and Boil Your Needles.

The ratio of ingredients is very simple: equal doses of almost everything.

You want to boil the needles for about half an hour. Make sure to wash them off thoroughly before cooking. If you pick the needles standing on the ground, you tend to pick needles that have been exposed to wildlife, and whatever gunk they tend to spread around

I made this boil from two cups of needles. I added two cups of water as well, but added a little more water as i went on. Maybe a total of three cups of water for everything.

Step 3: Strain the "tea"

Picture of Strain the "tea"

This can be a little tricky. Depending on your sieve, the needles can go through. Alternately, strain it through a clean piece of cloth. That ought to do the trick just fine.

Step 4: Add Sugar

Picture of Add Sugar

Pour in two cups of sugar in the strained tea-brew. Have it boil for about 12-15 minutes. You want the texture to be a little more runny than normal maple syrup. It will solidify a little when it cools down, and then become a little more viscous. I only had brown sugar at my disposal when I made this instructable. Unless you want a really rich caramel flavour on top of your fresh needle flavour, I wouldn't recommend using this. Either use white sugar or fructose. I will eventually test them all out and make a little flavour guide at the end of this instructable.

Step 5: Pour Up and Enjoy!

Picture of Pour Up and Enjoy!

I found a nice little jam-jar and poured it all up.

My daughter was very eager to try it out, so I obviously had to make pancakes the following morning. Great succes!

Strange fact: if the pancakes are a little dark (read burned, I'm no master chef), the cozy "sauna smell"- flavour in the pine needles, will be a little enhanced.

All in all: Even though I didn't use the right kind of sugar it was still a succes, at least if you ask my daughter. I will, however, test it again, using only fresh pine buds and a different kind of sugar. Stay tuned for more info.

The recipe works fine though. Good luck!

Step 6: Later Variations

Picture of Later Variations

Ok, so right about now (May-June)is the perfect time to go harvesting the sweet and fresh pine buds. You can recognize them by their bright, almost neon green color. They are soft to the touch as well and really easy to pick.

I picked a full bucket and chopped them up after rinsing at home. Then I followed my own recipe and made four different variations afterwards.

On the picture, you can see from the left:

The first one is the same syrup as before, made from regular pine needles and brown sugar.

The next one is made from pine buds and fructose. I love that amazing amber color.

The really dark one is made from fructose and pine buds as well, but with a spoonfull of pure licorice. YUM!!!! this was amazing! We love Black licorice in our family, and y black, I mean really black. That kind of black that makes your teeth look like they had a tan after you ate it.

The last one is made from pine buds and cane sugar. Here I added a good spoonfull of chopped fresh ginger. This also tasted fantastic.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of this syrup. We are trying to cut down on sugar at home.

Comments

treenerd (author)2015-04-12

I would stay away from yew. I googled a picture of it here. I know some people would know how to eat it right without being poisoned, but why take the chance, when there are so many other fine pines to pick from.

When I googled the picture, it also showed a picture of an old asian guy. Poisonous or not, I wouldn't recommend eating him either.

Attmos (author)2015-04-10

I wonder if you can use juniper needles, the berries are semi-poisonous I hear. What do you think? I could do a google search, I know; but maybe your book recipe said something about this :)

Where I lived (and plan to move back to soon), has tons of junipers.

treenerd (author)Attmos2015-04-12

Hi Attmos! Yes, you can in fact use juniper. The juniper we have in Scandinavia has been used for decades. You can actually take entire branches. Needles, berries and everything on them, and boil them for about an hour. The old recipe enquires yeast as well because they let the drink ferment for about 24 hours.

Attmos (author)treenerd2015-04-12

Cool, thanks a lot for the info, and for writing this instructable. I can't wait to try it. My grandparents used to take me to a place called The Sugar Bush when I was a kid, where they made maple syrup; making my own sounds like even more fun.

Thanks again.

treenerd (author)Attmos2015-04-12

No prob. Just to sprinkle with some random facts: if you ever come across a piece of juniper tree, you can chip it in small pieces and use it for smoking meat. It should add a really nice flavor.

steampunkpotato (author)Attmos2015-04-11

don't they make juniper berry wine?

Attmos (author)steampunkpotato2015-04-11

I really don't know. I just remember hearing that juniper berries ingested have really bad effects on the body. What I've heard may very well be urban ledged. That's why I'm asking. :)

Honey Rowland (author)2016-05-23

I make tea but never thought to make syrup with it! Will have to do that. I bet it'd be good made into some hard candy too.

Theelvenarcher (author)2015-05-18

what was the name of the book?

NonofYabiz (author)2015-04-28

Cool! Please keep making these, they are fun to read (and try).
Love the humor, too!

Jobar007 (author)2015-04-13

Speaking in generalities, if you have a true Pine, Spruce, or Fir, they aren't poisonous. When I hike in the spring time, I usually pull off some of the new growth (bright green and soft to the touch) and chew it a bit. Nice, but strong flavor and it freshens your breath.

This sounds interesting. Spruce tips are used in beer brewing, so why not syrup?

treenerd (author)Jobar0072015-04-13

Thank you for your reply Jobar007. Yes, the buds are in fact edible. From what I have heard, they are very high in vitamin C, so if it freshens your breath too, I would call that a double win.

BLASTFEMI (author)2015-04-13

We have lodgepole pine & digger pine! I'll have to research if they can be consumed. Thanks for the great inspiration!

treenerd (author)BLASTFEMI2015-04-13

I'm not that familiar with digger pine. From what I know, lodgepole pine is not that different from our regular pines in Scandinavia. It is one of the more industrial trees, but the needles should work just fine.

BeachsideHank (author)2015-04-11

I never knew you could do this with pine needles, thanks for the lesson and, a very cute assistant chef- in- training too!

treenerd (author)BeachsideHank2015-04-12

Could not agree more :)

Iron_Anvil (author)2015-04-10

Excellent first instructable! I've made pine needle tea dozens of times but never knew you could make a syrup with them! Thank you very much for sharing and I eagerly anticipate more from you in the future!

treenerd (author)Iron_Anvil2015-04-12

Thank you for the positive feedback.

amberrayh (author)2015-04-10

This is awesome! I've got Redwoods and Monterey Pines in my yard and will have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

treenerd (author)amberrayh2015-04-12

Than you very much! Right about now should be the right time to harvest some delicious pine buds. Post a pic, if you made it. Just don't use brown sugar :)

ghsu1 (author)2015-04-11

Does it matter what pines leaves you use? I have a souple pines trees by me, but have no idea what they are.

About This Instructable

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Bio: Danish cabinet maker and furniture designer. Now living in Sweden with my wonderful wife and two little girls. I absolutely crave creation. Any process that ... More »
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