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“Make a pine-scented infused oil for someone who can’t have a tree in their home during the holidays”

Home Uses for the Evergreen Tree

Words by Megan Martin

Whether it’s a Douglas fir, a balsam pine or a blue spruce, here are some ideas for you to make use of these trees in your home and kitchen.

Gift giving
1. Decorate packages with evergreen cuttings.
2. Collect needles in a small sachet for drawers or linen cabinets.
3. Make a pine-scented infused oil for someone who can’t have a tree in their home during the holidays.
4. Stamp holiday cards using a small evergreen sprig and paint.

Decorating
1. Construct a wreath with branches and twine to hang on a door.
2. Display attractive branches over doorways.
3. Tuck small cuttings around picture frames.
4. Make small branch impressions in salt dough and bake for a non-edible holiday decoration.
5. Display candles on the trimmings from the bottom of the tree trunk.

Pleasing the senses
1. Simmer evergreen sprigs and cinnamon sticks in water on the stovetop for wintery smells.
2. Make a relaxing bath tea by placing pine needles in a tea ball into your bath.

Edibles
It’s best to use foraged or non-sprayed trees for edible uses—make sure no chemicals have been near the tree. Also note that not all evergreens will be edible. Please confirm that the plant you intend to eat is not poisonous before consuming. Also note that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should not consume evergreen teas.

1. Pour boiling water over needles for an aromatic tea.
2. Strip the lower half of a spruce sprig and use the stem as a skewer for cheese or olives.
3. Garnish a large serving platter with small branches.
4. Fill a mason jar with needles, lemon peels and honey. Strain after infusing for a few weeks. Serve syrup on ice cream or other desserts.
5. Place two evergreen sprigs in a mason jar filled with vinegar. Store for a few weeks, in a cool, dark place, then strain and use in cooking or salad dressings.
6. Replace rosemary with evergreen sprig tips in a holiday poultry meal.
7. Infuse a bottle of gin with a few tree cuttings—let rest for twenty-four hours and then remove to serve.

Evergreen trees to use
1. Douglas Fir: Great for sachets, simmering for scent, infused oils and household decorating. When used for tea, use needles only (can be dried needles).
2. Balsam Pine or White Pine: Best for teas (can crush or chop needles first), gin infusion, honey infusion, printmaking and salt dough impressions.
3. Spruce or Blue Spruce: Best for food garnish, in place of rosemary and thyme, gin infusion, vinegar infusion and household decorating.

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