Chefs Recommend Eating Christmas Trees


Tea from dry branches raspberries and pine needles | Image by Auhustsinovich/Shutterstock

Haven’t thrown away your Christmas tree yet? Looking for a way to hold onto the holly-jolly just a bit longer? Before you toss the tree to the curb, chefs suggest incorporating it into recipes.

One chef, Julia Georgallis, has used Christmas trees as a way to spruce up her diet since 2015.

“It kind of started as something really lighthearted,” Georgallis told The Washington Post. “I didn’t mean it to end up capturing people’s imaginations. I sort of thought, ‘I’ll do it, and then that’ll be it.’ It’s amazing how much people love Christmas trees.”

In 2020, Georgallis published How to Eat Your Christmas Tree, a compilation of recipes that feature Christmas trees as a key ingredient. The recipes span a wealth of dishes from pine-needle-cured fish to vanilla custard.

Georgallis is not the only chef who recommends a Christmas tree flavor profile. Across the pond, Irish chef J.P. McMahon also advocates consuming Christmas trees as a way of recycling.

“If you’re roasting a whole chicken, you can literally snip a load of branches off and put the chicken on top of the branches and then season it and roast it and replace the branches with some fresh ones before serving them,” McMahon said. “There’s lots of ways you can have a bit of fun with your Christmas tree.”

Furthermore, McMahon explained that partially frozen pine needles can be eaten as a simple snack straight from the freezer.

“All pine is edible,” McMahon continued.  “I think the fact that pine is used a lot in cleaning products has put us off the flavour.”

Pine needles are rich in both vitamin A and vitamin C. For this reason, several animals such as deer and bears consume pine trees regularly.

British mixologist and bar owner Lottie Muir has been eating pine needles most of her life. One of her signature drinks, the Woodland Martini, incorporates the fresh flavors of pine trees.

“I wanted to make a cocktail that tasted and evoked a walk in the woods,” Muir said. “Some people think it tastes [bad], and some people really love it.”

However, some Christmas trees are cured with pesticides or other chemicals that may be dangerous to eat, so people should first check whether their Christmas trees are edible before adding a snipped branch to their dishes.

Georgallis lamented that Christmas trees will still inevitably “end up in a landfill” but urged others to “use as much of them as possible before you throw them out.”

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