Ah! Of life’s simple pleasures, few are as universally comforting as a cup of tea. Teas can be made of many things beyond those little satchels you dip into a mug of hot water. Our favorite backyard tea is a simple one-ingredient affair with a crisp, woodsy taste. It it loaded with Vitamin C, too. Let me introduce you to...drumroll please, Pine Needle Tea!
This tea stands out as truly terroir, that is, it tastes and smells of the land on which we live. The wonderful, steaming mug smells lightly of the forest and is a balm for the soul all winter long. It warms the body and helps ward off colds and flu. There is more Vitamin C in pine needles than in most citrus. It is so wonderful that Nature provides a delicious, nourishing tea and makes it available throughout the winter, when little else is to be found amid the thick blanket of snow in Northern Michigan. The act of gathering, combined with the ritual of brewing, brings us into connection with the land around us.
To gather your free, tasty, and healthy ingredients you must first find a white pine tree. Chances are there is one nearby if you live here in Northern Michigan. It is the state tree after all. Check out this DNR page to help you accurately ID the white pine. You can use this recipe with other pines, although I have heard white pine is the tastiest. Thankfully, white pine is abundant here at Terroir Farm so I have never needed to substitute another species. As always, be sure you can correctly identify anything you forage before ingesting it. I suggest checking the identification with multiple sources to be completely sure and safe.