2 Wonderful Pine Needle Recipes

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By Crystal Baldwin, December 15. 2021

Pine needles are very abundant here in Colorado and in many places around the world. Did you know that they are edible and you can make so many different things with pine needles to soothe your body and expand your options in the kitchen?

Lot’s of Vitamin C
Pine needles purportedly have three to five times more vitamin C than an orange. If you pick a pine needle and bite the end of it off you will notice that it has a burst of tangy, sour lemon flavor followed by a pine-like finish. Whenever you notice this flavor in nature it indicates that the plant is high in vitamin C (always know what you are eating before trying this trick).

Pine needles were used by the natives who introduced the European settlers to pine needle teas to help combat scurvy. They used many pine needle recipes and tinctures to help many ailments throughout the seasons. This simple plant saved the French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew in 1536 from scurvy and James Cook used spruce beer in his second Pacific voyages in Western Canada.

The amount of vitamin C present in the needles is highest in the winter months starting in November with the peak being in March.

Although the older needles are a bit higher in vitamin C they can taste a bit more “piney” than the more sought after, slightly sweeter spring needle tips. Spring is almost here in Colorado so these fresh tips are right around the corner. Remember pine needles are good any time of year and one of the few things we can harvest in the winter months. The following pine needle recipes will keep you feeling fresh and healthy all year long!

Douglas Fir / Pink Himalayan Seasoning Salt

  • 1⁄4 Cup Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1⁄2 Cup Douglas Fir needles (removed from the stalk)
  • Mixture of herbs of choice such as; Lemon Peel
  • Orange Peel
  • Pink or black peppercorn
  • Pinch of Rosemary


  1. Remove needles from the stalk
  2. Rinse needles and pat dry, allow to air dry to remove all water before grinding- leave for several hours or overnight.
  3. Place all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until blended to desired consistency (or chop needles and grind into the salt with other herbs using a mortar and pestle)
  4. Spread the mixture out on parchment paper and allow to dry for 1-2 days
  5. Store in an air-tight container
  6. Sprinkle on fish, roasted veggies and focaccia bread

*Note if you don’t have a dedicated food processor for herbs, be aware that the salt will scratch the sides of your food processor. It won’t hurt the function of your machine in any way but it will leave the bowl looking cloudy.

Pine Needle bath salts made with Epsom salts can provide a soothing, relaxing bath, helping to calm emotions and relax muscles. It is a great way to bring the scent of the forest inside. Close your eyes and lay back, imagine the birds singing, the sun shining through the branches of this magnificent giant and breath in the calming scent of pine!

Soothing Fir Needle Bath Salt

  • 3 Cups Epsom Salts
  • 1⁄2 Cup Douglas Fir or Spruce needles (removed from the stalk)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame seed oil (or olive oil)
  • 10 Drops Cedarwood Essential Oil
  • 10 Drops Orange Essential Oil
  • (Or essential oils of choice)


  1. Remove needles from branches
  2. Spread out on a towel and allow to dry for 1-3 days or use immediately
  3. Place 1 1⁄2 Cups Epsom salts and pine needles in the food processor
  4. Blend until needles are chopped and combined to size of salts
  5. Place in a stainless steel bowl and add the remaining salts
  6. In another bowl add the sesame seed oil and essential oils, stir till combined
  7. Pour the blended sesame oil over the salts and mix until completely combined
  8. Store in a air-tight glass jar

To use:
Place 1⁄2-1 Cup of the salt mixture in a muslin or tulle bag to avoid clogging your drain with the pine needles (you can also wrap it up in a thin wash cloth with ribbon or a rubber band). Re-use your muslin or cloth bags.

Drop the bag in the bath while the water is running and swirl around. Lay back, relax and enjoy and feel those muscles relax!

Epsom Salt has been used in baths to relax sore muscles, calm and soothe frazzled nerves and help soften rough skin. The two main ingredients of Epsom salt are magnesium and sulfate. It is believed that this combination stimulates detoxification in the body.

Besides seasoning salt and bath salt you can use pine needles to make teas (often used for coughs and cold), vinegars, syrups (spruce lemonade), liqueur, infused body oil and lotion or lip balms. Some of the more common needles used come from the Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Blue Spruce (Picea pungens). Be sure these trees are not sprayed with pesticides.

Make sure you have a proper identification of the tree that you are harvesting from. Always check more than one source to be absolutely sure you know what it is before ingesting.

Avoid the potentially deadly Yew (Taxus spp) which is often used as an ornamental planting. It has flat needles and red berries. Also avoid a common houseplant called “Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) as it can cause vomiting and gastric upset. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) has been known to cause aborted fetuses in cattle when ingested in large quantities. Although that has not been proven in humans, it is recommended that you avoid ingestion during pregnancy or when breast feeding. It is also suggested that you avoid balsam fir (Abies balsamea), lodgepole (Pinus contorta) and Monterey pines (Pinus radiata).

For people with sensitive skin there have been some cases of pine causing dermatitis or irritation. If you are not sure if you are allergic, try performing a patch test by applying a small amount on your skin, cover with a bandage and leave it on for 5-10 minutes (the inside of your elbow is a good spot to test). If you don’t have any reactions a bath will probably be fine. Start with small amounts in the bathwater as the heat can increase sensitivities.

For more information or to register for our next herbal class, view our upcoming classes page or contact our shop!



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