I’m Pining for Pollen!
Here’s my brand of personal alchemy at work again…everything is covered with a layer of yellow pollen dust, we’re all sneezing and complaining. But I am mixing the stuff into a smoothie!
I recently began reading up on the uses of pine and pine pollen as a food source. Naturally it’s not new, just new to me. And I see it for sale on-line, the finest harvested from the Masson Pine (pinus massoniana). The American Indians used pine pollen as an endurance food when making long treks and indeed it’s noted for its high levels of testosterone. Endurance, indeed! In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anything pollen can’t improve from lung function and cholesterol to balancing hormones to stamina in, um, all endeavors.
Pine, in general, has many uses in the herbal and culinary tradition. I have long used the young needles like rosemary or as a tenderizing marinade for game and other tough meats. The tender green growth we can see in evidence at this time of year can be eaten raw in a “salad,” albeit a strong tasting one. Dip the tip of a pine branch with new growth into hot water for a refreshing tea. The inner bark is tasty fried up, and the pollen is touted as a real super food, especially noted for strengthening the immune system. The soft brown tips that form on the ends of the branches are the small clusters of male cones that hold the pollen.
I found an interesting recipe that I’d like to share with readers. It hails from a site called “Your Body Is A Temple,” and I hope you’ll try it.
Pine Pollen and Reishi Chocolates, Delicious and Vegan
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro
1 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup Reishi mushroom tea
5-10 whole pine pollen cones, or to taste
1/4 cup brown rice protein powder
1/2 teaspoon Stevia
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
Set aside an ice cube tray.
Melt coconut oil over a low flame. Slowly whisk in nut betters, cinnamon, Stevia and Reishi tea one at a time.
Next whisk in vanilla. Slowly stir in cacao powder, pine pollen cones, and brown rice powder.
The batter should be thin enough to run off a spoon. Spoon into ice cube trays, chill for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Laura Cabot is an MF&L columnist and blogger, a French trained chef with a long career as a chef/restaurant owner, and president of Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro.