Pine Cones /Bouquet Garni/

François la Varenne was responsible for the Bouquet Garni, a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare stocks.

These days chefs experiment with all kinds of nature and for those chefs that forage, pine cones are used as one of the ingredients to slow cook veau for 12 hours. The end result is an interesting dish to say the least.

Besides food, pine cones had and still have medical uses and have been used for the making of stimulants, etc. Greeks have been making retsina for a few thousand years, an acquired tasted by accident. They stored their white wine in clay containers lined with pitch pine. The wine took on the subtle flavor of the pitch. Now days, retsina comes in a wide range of flavors, from delicate to intense.

Note: Needles raw chopped can be used like rosemary. Inner bark near base is edible, preferably cooked, can be made into a flour, very high in vitamins A and C, and young male cones boiled, pollen eaten as is. The core of young roots are edible raw when peeled of the outer bark and the young root bark can be seeped for its sugar content.

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http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Edible_Plants_Ramer_Silver_Weizmann/Pages/spp_page_whitepine.html