After Christmas, don’t throw out your tree… eat it. Seriously!
If you fancy a change from eating turkey leftovers, devouring your Christmas tree could be the way to go.
Of course, the first thing to check was how safe it is to actually eat trees. All spruce, firs, and pines can be eaten, but yew trees are extremely poisonous.
The main things that make them stand out are that they have red berries and that the needles grow in a spiral pattern from the twigs. Just be sure the tree hasn’t been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides.
The main varieties of Christmas Trees are Nordmann Firs, Douglas Firs, Blue Spruce, and Norway Spruce. Pine needles have a minty, fresh, and yes, pine-like flavor that make an intriguing component to everything from a roast to a round of cocktails. The most traditional way to use pine needs is to steep them hot water to make a simple tea high in vitamins A and C. This same pine needle tea can be used to flavor simple broth-based soups, breads, and sauces. Whole pine needles can also be used to infuse braises or in marinades for fish, meats, and other dishes.
Douglas Fir Sparkletini
1 1/2 ounce Douglas Fir infused gin (see below)
3/4 ounce white cranberry juice
1 1/2 ounce fresh Lemon Sour (see below)
Splash of dry sparkling wine (preferably local)
Tiny sprig of Douglas Fir
Fresh or frozen cranberry
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the infused gin, cranberry juice and lemon sour mixture. Strain into a martini glass and top with a splash of dry sparkling wine. Garnish with a fir sprig and float a cranberry in the drink.
Douglas Fir Infused Gin
1 (5-6 inch) sprig of Douglas Fir branch, rinsed
1 750ml bottle gin
Put the fir branch into the gin bottle and cap and let sit for 24 hours (do not leave it in for longer). Remove the branch and discard. The infused gin can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 year.
Fresh Lemon Sour
Makes 1 cup:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water