Pine needles..

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GeorgeSalt
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Pine needles..

Post: #265778 GeorgeSalt
Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:38 pm

An afternoon foraging has yielded blackberries, elderberries, a scan handful of green walnuts and a couple of fistfuls of fresh green pine needles.

I've set a batch of pine needle cordial on the go (p.156, Booze for Free) and still have at least half of what I have collected left. I also have most of a very nice bottle of gin left by a recent houseguest. I'm thinking along the lines of a pine liqueur but I can't find any mention of using pine needles in this way. Not event a hint of a mention, but there is mention of using it in beer brewing. The closest I can find is mention of, "Zirbenz - A 70 proof stone pine liqueur made in the Austrian Alps, deriving its character from the fruit of the Arolla stone pine, offering crisp aromas of pine, cedar, dried herbs and menthol, with a bitter finish" (source).

Any thoughts on or experience of scots pine liqueur? I'll see what the pine cordial is like in the morning (it must steep overnight) before sacrificing a pint of gin to the experiment.
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GeorgeSalt
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #265803 GeorgeSalt
Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:22 pm

A bit more research later..

My main concern is around the possible turpentine content and less desirable volatile oils.. turpentine being insoluble in water (tea, cordials, beer) but highly soluble in alcohol (gin, brandy). There are occasional mentions of pine needle infused gin/brandy in cocktail recipes. Searching the German websites yields liqueurs based on spruce needles and stone pine fruit, but nothing for Scots Pine.
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Andy Hamilton
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266066 Andy Hamilton
Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:16 pm

Never heard of Pine needle gin either...hmm...but yes needs more research, Might be worth asking a herbalist what gets extract by alcohol perhaps as they might use if for tinctures ? But I have made pine needle vinegar, just put the needles into a sealed jar full of white vinegar for 2-3 months, strain and it tastes like balsamic vinegar.
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GeorgeSalt
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266071 GeorgeSalt
Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:25 pm

Andy.. I made the cordial as per your recipe, is it supposed to smell odd/unusual? I haven't plucked up courage to try it yet but there's a pint sat in the fridge..
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daz101
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266093 daz101
Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:47 pm

Be careful, the resins in this plant are quite powerful. The plant is used as a rubifacient (reddens the skin: dermatitis!) and a vermifuge, kills intestinal parasites. The essential oil should only be used by professionals, however pine needle tea is good for vitamin c. You can eat the innner bark pounded and dried and added to bread mix.

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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266099 Andy Hamilton
Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:31 am

GeorgeSalt wrote:Andy.. I made the cordial as per your recipe, is it supposed to smell odd/unusual? I haven't plucked up courage to try it yet but there's a pint sat in the fridge..


Odd/Unusual is rather subjective, so I'm not sure. It's supposed to smell like pine. Could be that its somehow got infected with some sort of bacteria perhaps? Might be obvious, but it was definitely pine and not yew or anything?
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
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GeorgeSalt
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266107 GeorgeSalt
Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:09 am

Definitely pine - and picked direct from the tree. Although not on the Brecks we have a lot of Breckland style Scots Pine that allows picking from low branches. I suspect it's a resinous smell , no sign of infection the liquid is crystal clear with a slight colour tinge, no effervesence. I dabbed a bit od neat cordial onto my finger and gave it a taste.. seems ok, and more interesting than the smell. I'll risk a small glass later in the name of science!
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266456 Andy Hamilton
Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:45 pm

...and did it taste ok?
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
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GeorgeSalt
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266641 GeorgeSalt
Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:54 am

I've had a small sip.. I'm a bit rat-cautious when tasting novel concoctions.. it seems more citrusy than piney, refreshing but definitely something different. It's been sat in the fridge since I made it, there are some whispy white strands on contact with water - I wonder if this is something in solution in the sugar-cordial that's not soluble at lower osmotic pressures? - it doesn't appear bacterial or fungal, it osn't present in the bottle. I'll see if I can get some under the microscope at the weekend.

I'll try more later, at the moment it's in the novelty category rather than the must-make list.
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #266651 MKG
Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:14 am

Just a shot in the dark, George, but pine needles contain terpenes, which are the chemicals responsible for the Pernod effect (goes cloudy when water is added). Maybe it's something along those lines.

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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #267414 rogdee
Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:44 am

Hi George, just reading your post on pine needles, what was the outcome of the cordial? here on Anglesey we are knee deep in pine trees so I'm interested to know what the result was.

GeorgeSalt
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #267419 GeorgeSalt
Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:21 pm

The outcome was "interesting" but not a recipe I'll rush to repeat. We had a small problem with the fridge just the other week, so it's not been consistently kept chilled. I've just had a look and had to pour out what's left due to a fluffy-cloud growth - definitely microbiological this time.

If I was snowed under with pine nedles and living near the coast.. I think I'd be using the pine needles for the mussel bake that Hugh F-H featured on one of his programmes.
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #271236 mine86
Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:27 pm

Hi! My grandma (originally from south tyrol in Italy) makes a mountain pine liquor! However she doesn't use pine needles but green pine cones from the mountain pine (pinus mugus I believe the Latin name is) not sure if is what you're looking for!

GeorgeSalt
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #271239 GeorgeSalt
Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:25 pm

mine86 wrote:Hi! My grandma (originally from south tyrol in Italy) makes a mountain pine liquor! However she doesn't use pine needles but green pine cones from the mountain pine (pinus mugus I believe the Latin name is) not sure if is what you're looking for!


Thats interesting and gives me some better search terms.. which turns up Barancio liquer made from grappa and cones of the shrub pine (Pinus Mugo). From the Val Sarentina area.

Welcome to -ish!
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Re: Pine needles..

Post: #273102 daz101
Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:50 pm

I found a recipe by Miles Irving to produce pine syrup.
Dissolve 80g of citric acid and 1.2 kg of sugar in 1 litre of hot but not boiling water then add 250g of (Scots Pine or Douglas Fir which has a sharper taste) needles and leave to steep for 24 hours. The citric acid helps draw out the aromatic oil. Use the syrup diluted as a drink, to make jelly, sorbet or to glaze roasted meat, especially game.
(The Forager Handbook. Ebury Press)
Sounds deelish I'll give it a go myself....


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