I've had a lot of fun looking over cookbooks and recipes from the 1750s on, but I am starting with Pine Needle Tea. Pine Needle Tea was something that the Huron Indians (also called the Wyendot) on Georgian Bay prepared in order to prevent scurvy. When the Jesuits arrived and began construction of Ste. Marie Among the Hurons in 1639, the natives showed them many natural foods from the wild.
Pine Needle Tea was one of those shown to the French missionaries. It is rich in Vitamin A and C so helpful for colds, flu and has other medicinal uses.
|Spruce Trees on our property|
Since I live near Ste. Marie Among the Hurons and am very familiar with the site and history, I thought this would be a very appropriate recipe to use for Challenge #1. My husband has made this tea before and he loves it.
First you find a pine tree. We used a Spruce tree with short needles. You want to look for fresh bright green needles on your tree. Some pine trees are poisonous so be sure you know what you are gathering! Luckily where we live there are no poisonous pine trees. You also don't want to drink gallons of this tea at one sitting as it can be harmful in large quantities. We use spruce but others have told me they have used Balsam, White Pine and Pitch. I cannot vouch for these varieties as we have not tried them.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove, then add 1 to 2 Tbsp. of chopped needles. Simmer this for about 20 minutes or until the needles start to sink to the bottom.
When the pine needles start to sink to the bottom of your pot, the tea is ready. You can also tell by the colour. The darker the tea, the more nutrients you are getting and the stronger the flavour
|This is plenty for 2 cups of tea|
|Chopping the needles into small pieces|
|We used a short needle Spruce but still need to chop|
|Add needles to water on stove|
|Tea is almost ready. A beautiful colour!|
|Pine Needle Tea|