How to Eat Your Christmas Tree

While the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful, you might catch your eye wandering to your Christmas tree lit up and sparkling and think: “Looks delicious.”

Okay, maybe you aren’t actually thinking that. But why not? Foraging for food has gained popularity over the last couple years alongside the sustainable food movement and while you might think of foraged food in terms of mushrooms and berries, there are plenty of other things you can eat right under your nose.

The environmental footprint of the Christmas tree industry is quite large. Real Christmas trees are a sustainable and renewable resource. However, we need to consider that if the 30-40 million trees we cut down each year were allowed to stay outside, they would absorb approximately 880 million tons of carbon which could roughly offset 176 million car emissions.

Eating your Christmas tree will not solve the problem, but as a thought experiment that helps lead to a larger conversation about how we can reuse, repurpose and search for sustainable solutions to everyday things. After all, Christmas is a time with some of the most food waste in the country; wasting approximately 230,000 tonnes each year.

So, how exactly do we eat our delicious-looking tree? First and foremost, make sure your tree is a fir or a spruce which are safe to eat and offer specific sweet and herbal flavors. Do not eat Cypress or cedar pines because they are poisonous.

One of the easiest ways to begin eating your tree is to create a balsamic-like vinegar with your needles. Simply use a large jar and fill it with needles (roughly chopped) and apple cider vinegar so the needles are covered by an inch of liquid. Close the jar and let it sit in a cool, dark place for a month. Then, simply add it to bread or dishes similarly to how you would use a balsamic vinegar.

If you’re a bit more adventurous, give this recipe a try:

 

Christmas Tree (Literally) Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped needles
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add flour, baking powder and pine needles to a blender, and blend until fully combined and consistent in texture.
  3. Combine sugar, vanilla and butter until sugar is dissolved and combined completely. Then begin adding the egg slowly until combined. Then add the dry blender ingredients and mix by hand until one consistent texture.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Add extra powdered sugar and roughly chopped needles for decoration if desired.

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