Whether you're out exploring for the weekend or you find yourself in a survival situation, knowing the benefits of the resources around you could be the difference between life and death. Thats why today I am sharing the benefits of the marvelous pine tree from Preparing for STHF.
The Marvelous and Essential Pine Tree
There are currently 175 recognized species of pine trees or conifers. The hardy trees can be found almost anywhere, and typically thrive year round in their environments. Whether you're in need of food, shelter, fire or its medicinal properties, the pine tree will become your go to survival tree. Correct identification of a plant is extremely important. The first rule of foraging is never, ever, eat anything you are not 100 percent sure of. This applies whether you are picking in the wild or in your own back yard. All pines are evergreens, but not all evergreens are pines.
Most conifers are safe to prepare infusions with, but there are three poisonous pines one must avoid!
The Yew (Taxus), Norfolk Island Pine (Araucana heterophylla), and the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), yellow pine.
For more information you can read about these species over at Garden Guides.
So, what are the mighty Pine trees survival uses?
1. Pine needles can be steeped to make tea, which makes a brew loaded with vitamin C.
2. Pine nuts (actually they're seeds) can be eaten raw or roasted.
3. Inner pine bark is edible, and can be eaten raw, boiled, fried or roasted over a flame. Just be sure not to "ring" a tree when harvesting the bark, use fallen branches or just remove bark from a living tree on one side.
4. Pine resin can be chewed like gum for its antibacterial properties, steeped in tea, applied to wounds (after normal first aid such as cleansing have been done), used as a glue, or even added to a torch to increase its burn time.
5. Male pinecones found at the tips of branches, and are smaller than female pinecones, can be eaten boiled or baked. In the spring months male pinecones produce pollen which can be added to soup for broths, thickened or used as a flour like substance.
6. The hardy trees branches provide shelter from the elements, and their needles can be used to help insulate the body in cold temperatures.
The list could go on and on, so for now I'll stop there, but in a time of need, don't forget about these magnificent trees! They also add to gorgeous landscapes like this view at Peyto Lake in British Columbia!