Edible Parts of a Pine Tree

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Use pine trees as a food source in survival situations.
Use pine trees as a food source in survival situations. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pine trees are large coniferous evergreen trees native to the northern hemisphere. Pine trees can be recognized by their long, thin needle-like foliage, sticky sap and fresh pine scent. Multiple edible parts of a pine tree can be eaten in an emergency situation to sustain life. It is important to know which parts are edible and how to harvest and prepare them for consumption.

Inner Bark

The inner bark of a pine tree is located between the outer bark and the layer of soft wood. A pine tree's inner bark is the portion of the tree that carries nutrients up the trunk. To harvest, cut through the layers of bark until you reach the wood portion. Slide your knife between the bark and wood and pull the bark from the trunk. Cut the inner bark from the outer bark and slice it into strips. Fry the bark over a fire until it is brown and crispy. Do not harvest the bark of a pine tree unless you are in an emergency and need food because doing so kills the tree.

Seeds

Pine seeds, also known as pine nuts, are an edible part of pine trees. They contain thiamine, protein, and vitamin B1. Pine nuts are located inside the cones of pine trees. Open pine cones can be shaken to dislodge the pine nuts from inside. Pine cones that are closed can be harvested and placed in the sun or near a camp fire for a few days. The heat causes the cones to open and the pine nuts can then be shaken out. Pine nuts can be eaten raw or roasted.

Needles

Pine tree needles are edible and contain high levels of vitamin C. Pluck a handful of needles from a branch and chew on them raw to extract the nutrients. Pine needles can also be used to make tea. Bring 1 1/2 pints of water to a boil and chop up 1/2 cup of pine needles. Add the pine needles to the boiling water and let cook for 5 to 15 minutes. The longer the pine needles cook, the more vitamin C is lost, so less time is better. Strain the needles from the tea and drink.

Young Male Cones

Male pine cones are located on the tips of branches and are smaller in size than female pine cones. Male pine cones can be harvested, boiled or baked and then eaten. In the spring, the pollen can be shaken from the male cones and stored. Use the pollen as a substitute for flour or corn starch. The pollen from a pine tree is high in protein.

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