September 1, 2009

First Fall Harvest

Today I harvested a bunch of Common Plantain (Plantago major) and some needles from a cut-down Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus). Last year in chemistry class we analyzed the Vitamin-C content of various foods. It turned out that one cup of White Pine-needle tea made by boiling roughly a bundle of needles one inch in diameter for a minute or so, yielded as much Vitamin-C as a 1000mg tablet. This was more than 200 times the Vitamin-C content of cheap orange juice.

I plan on saving these needles so that I can have C tea through the winter without having to collect needles early in the morning. For those that have never had pine-needle tea, it is quite a treat. Sweetened with a bit of honey, pine-needle tea has a very pleasant taste. From my experience, I have not come upon the turpentiney taste or smell commonly associated with pines.


  1. If I remember properly the 'turpentiney' tast is more in the cones than needles. I could be wrong tho.

  2. I've never boiled mature pine cones, but I would imagine that to be so. Something I have seen done is taking the very young cones in the spring when they are still soft and green, and stuffing them into a jar, and then covering them with honey. I could definitely taste the piney flavor in the honey, but it was very delicious! You could also just pop the cones in your mouth and eat them out of the jar.

  3. I think Vitemin C might be a compound which doesn't hang around for a long time in naturally occuing substances. You might want to look into that?

  4. Interesting, I've also heard that boiling will "kill" vitamin C, but I guess it doesn't "kill" it fast enough because I boiled the pine needles for a couple of minutes to make C tea, and it still had the vitamin C of a 1000mg tablet.

    It would be interesting to see how long it takes white pine needles to loose their C content after they have been plucked from the tree.