Sunday, June 01, 2003

Did you know you can eat the bundles of spring-green needles that pine trees sport on the ends of their branches this time of year?

"Try them, they're kind of sour," said A., the assistant director, as we walked along the paths of Birds Island.

The needles did taste sour, and not surprisingly, a bit like rosemary. But I can't seem to find any recipes using pine needles, not that the taste was particularly inspiring. I'm surprised that if humans can figure out that olives are edible (have you ever tried to eat a raw olive?), there aren't any recipes that use pine needles, other than for tea. Somehow, I imagined that there must be a restaurant in California somewhere that serves a salad of new pine needles, but I suppose that's too ridiculous even for Californians.

However, I did find some information about flour made from the bark of pinetrees, made by Lapps no less. Eating bread made from pinebark flour doesn't conjure quite the same picture as eating pine needles, however.

The Swedish word for the day is juni. It means June, which was busting out all over Birds Island, all waxy sweet scent of apple- and cherry- and pearblossom, mixed with lily-of-the-valley, lilac and various unidentified bushes with tiny white flowers.

- by Francis S.

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