You can make a healthy, invigorating tea anywhere, it seems -- even in the middle of a pine forest. Native Americans, the early settlers and explorers made pine needle tea, which is rich in vitamins A and C. It's especially good for those suffering from colds and flu, and its vitamin C content makes it as good a cure for scurvy as citrus fruits. If you have access to fresh, bright-green pine needles, you too can enjoy this unusual tea.
Pick at least 1 cup of fresh, green pine needles; the freshest ones will be bright in color, and give the best taste to your tea. Rinse them in fresh water to clean off any surface dirt. Chop the pine needles into small pieces.
Measure 3 cups of water in a large measuring cup. Pour the water into a saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring the water to a boil.
Place the pine needles on a chopping board. Chop the needles into small pieces. Remove any faded or imperfect needles.
Add the chopped pine needles to the water as soon as it comes to a boil. Stir the needles into the water with a wooden spoon. Bring the water to a simmer; let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.
Steep the tea mixture for an additional 20 minutes. Add the juice squeezed from one lemon to the tea if you like. You may let the tea steep overnight; it will be a deep reddish color and taste stronger if you do.
Strain the pine needles out of the tea. Pour into cups and sweeten with a teaspoon of sugar, honey or maple syrup, if desired.