Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Turns out you can eat your Christmas tree – yes, really

05/01/2023

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman

05m read

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It’s that time of year again, folks. As everyone returns, bleary eyed, to post-Christmas normalcy, we’re having to lug our beloved Christmas trees down to the recycling point, spilling a trail of pines behind us as we go.

It’s always depressing saying goodbye to your Christmas tree for another year.

But we’ve got the perfect way to make the process more fun. Did you know you can actually eat it rather than chucking it away?

CHRISTMAS TREE

Anyone wanna eat their Christmas tree? (Credit: Unsplash)

Eating your Christmas tree

Yup, it might sound like a bonkers TikTok trend, and we wouldn’t judge you for assume we’re having you on, but the truth is many chefs actually advocate for cooking your Christmas tree.

READ MORE: What to do with Christmas leftovers – 6 top tips to make the most of your food

What’s more, they even promise it’s rather delicious…

“You can pretty much eat the whole thing,” Julia Georgallis, author of “How To Eat Your Christmas Tree,” said in a recent interview with The Guardian. “You can use the needles as you would use rosemary or bay leaves, for flavour.”

She’s not alone, either. John Williams, executive chef of the Ritz, advocates for the “fragrant and spicy” flavour of the needles and suggests using them with root vegetables like celeriac.

Meanwhile, René Redzepi, who works at three-Michelin-starred Noma in Copenhagen, told the Observer that he’s been cooking with pine for two decades.

And to think we’ve been chucking our tree out the whole time!

pine needles

Pine needles are actually a great cooking ingredient (Credit: Unsplash)

Cooking with pine needles

There are loads of ways to cook with pine needles, but Georgallis suggests a few top tips.

You can: 

  • Blend the needles into vinegar to pickle eggs or vegetables
  • Crush them to flavour a gin
  • Char them in the oven and then pulse in a blender to create a powder for seasoning
  • Replant the tree and eat the new buds when they sprout
pine and cauliflower noma copenhagen

Pine and cauliflower from Noma, Copenhagen (Credit: Flickr/ Catherine Oddenino)

But why eat your Christmas tree?

Cooking with pine needles is definitely a cheffy move – there’s no doubt about that – but you might be wondering why chefs are encouraging us normal folk to eat our Christmas trees.

The answer, of course, is sustainability, and getting the most out of everything we consume.

READ MORE: 8 New Year’s Eve food ideas from around the world

If you’re buying a Christmas tree, why not also use it to spruce up a few meals, rather than simply disposing of it when the holidays are over? When you think about it, it’s a no brainer, really.

Speaking about what drove her to write her book, Georgallis told the paper that climate change has “made everyone a lot more aware of how they’re eating, what they’re eating [and] how they buy and grow stuff.”

julia georgallis

Julia Georgallis is an advocate for eating your tree (Credit: Instagram/ @juliageorgallis)

She adds that it’s best for people not to buy Christmas trees at all, seeing as one five-foot tree is usually about 12 years old, and has to be cut down simply so we can use it as decoration. However, the food writer and chef concludes that if people are going to continue the tradition, they may as well use them to the fullest.

Not thrown your tree away yet? You know what to do… Pine needle gin, anyone?

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