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Q&A

Can you eat pine needles in an emergency?

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If you are in a survival situation in the woods and really hungry, and you are unsure about which plants are edible, can you eat pine needles?

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/848. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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5 answers

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In the spring you can commonly find delicious new shoots on spruce. They are quite good as a snack when there are no other significant sources of food to eat, or perhaps on a hike.

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All pines, spruces and firs have edible needles.

All yews are poisonous, and can look like some of the above, so be careful you have identified the tree correctly!

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Pine needles have virtually no caloric value.
I would not recommend pine needles as an energy source, although they have plenty of vitamin C and make delicious tea. This is good in winter to avoid getting scurvy in a long-term survival situation.

As already mentioned, Yew needles are toxic to the human body. There are several genera of yew. Generally they grow at higher elevations and in man-made parks.

If anything looks like these yew needles, leave them be and don't eat them:

Yew needles - do not eat.

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The resin has alot of calories. On a video called how to eat a pine tree I think they said 2000 calories in a teaspoon full. In a museum in hungary they said the shephards used to put it on their teeth from where it comes off slowly and it gave them energy to walk all day.

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Yes & no. The U.S. Navy land survival training in Pensacola, Florida teaches students to chew on pine needles to obtain vitamin C. But you don't actually chew and swallow them.

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