Holiday season and time for some pine. Not just because they are a holiday plant but also because they make a great addition to your homestead landscape and can be used in many ways.
Pine is Useful
Wearing my Gardening With Soule hat – I discussed which pines grow well in the Low and Middle Desert and suggested getting a living holiday tree this year. Living Holiday Trees
We covered some of the many pine uses last week. Now we are here with a recipe that you can make right now with the pine you ran out and purchased upon our recommendation. (insert winky emoji here)
Pine Needle Vinegar
This is best when made ahead of time and allowed to set and develop flavor for about a month.
I recommend making this with fresh pine needles. They have the best flavor. I have also made this vinegar with pine needles that I had dried for tea, and had not used within one year. One year is the best shelf life for most medicinal and culinary herbs. It came out okay, but not as flavorful.
Fill a 1 quart mason jar with fresh pine needles, the younger the better.
Add enough rice vinegar to cover. Apple cider vinegar can be used, but the lower percent acid of rice vinegar is pleasant, and the flavor pairs well with the pine.
Cover the shoots with vinegar, cap with a new canning jar lid. Old lids may be scratched and will start to rust.
Let the mixture cure for one month. A cool dark place is best.
When ready to use, strain the liquid through a a strainer or cheesecloth.
The spent needles are great for the compost heap, or just toss them in the garden for mulch.
Use Pine Vinegar
Pine vinegar is pleasant in a vinegar and oil salad dressing.
I love this flavor splashed on greens like spinach or chard.
Vinegar has a long history of use to help tenderize tough cuts of meat. We will have to do some experiments with this next batch and get back to you. Or better yet – let us know if you have ever tried this!
Use this vinegar to sprinkled on slices of eggplant or zucchini planks you are about to grill. (We will get Uncle Smokey to post about that)
Not A Fan?
No worries! If you taste it and do not like the flavor – use this vinegar for cleaning. See our post last week about cleaning with pine.
Any vinegar can be used in the garden in the Southwest. Dilute the vinegar with water (1 cup vinegar in 4 gallons water). Use this nice acidic water to help acid-loving plants like citrus and roses. It even helps our native desert plants – but that’s more for Gardening With Soule to share.
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