can you eat pine cones

In this brief guide, we will answer the query “can you eat pine cones”. We will also discuss what pine cones are, Which parts of them can be eaten, the health benefits and risks of eating pine cones, how to prepare pine cones for eating, and more.

Can you eat Pine cones?

Yes, you can eat pine cones. In Fact, most parts that come from the Pine tree are edible. However, Pine cones are not something that you should consider eating often as it is not very easy to digest.

Which parts of the Pinecone can be eaten?

Following parts of a Pinecone can be eaten.

  • Pine nuts
  • Pine pollen
  • Pinecone

Pine nuts

Pine nuts do not have a strong taste. They are rich in protein, magnesium, vitamin k, and thiamine. Some Pine nuts are hard to harvest due to their small size. Around 20 species of Pine trees have nuts that can be properly harvested. 

Usually, Pine cones start opening during August to September, which makes this the best time to harvest Pine nuts. Pine nuts are widely used to make pesto, granola, cookies, and muffin. They are also used in baking and as a topping for salads and pasta dishes.

Pine pollen

Pine pollen is produced in spring. While female Pine cones are brown and hard-scaled, male Pine cones are yellow-brown in color and have a small collection of tubes around the central stem. This pollen is very rich in protein. They can be either mixed into a stew to thicken it or mixed with flour. 


Pine cones are not a very good food source, unlike Pine nuts or Pine pollen. But, young cones that have not opened and not hardened may be eaten. Pine cones are rich in vitamin C and fiber. But as they are not easy to digest, they are not suitable for eating very often. 

What are the health benefits of eating Pine Cones?

Pine nuts do not have as many proteins as some other nuts that are widely consumed. However, they have lots of micronutrients and minerals that are important for your body. High amounts of manganese present in Pine nuts are good for maintaining bone density. Antioxidants present in pine nuts can help your body to reduce the risk of many diseases. 

Nutrients in Pine nuts also help the body control blood sugar levels and lower bad cholesterol. Food that is made using Pinecones is considered to have great medical properties that help boost your immune system and also protect you from various illnesses.

What are Pine cones?

Pine cones come from Pine trees which are a type of coniferous tree. Pine cones are the reproductive tool of Pine trees. Usually, male and female Pine cones grow in the same tree. Male Pine cones produce pollen that can pollinate a female Pine Cone which can then produce seeds that have the ability to create more Pine trees.

While male Pine cones are soft and spongy, female Pine cones are hard-shelled. Female Pine cones have evolved that way to keep their seeds safe. 

Usually, the pollen produced by male Pine Cones is carried by the wind to pollinate female Pine cones on another Pine tree. Once pollinated, Pine seeds start to grow in the female Pine cones and when they get bigger the seeds get loose from the Pinecone and fall.

What are the risks of eating Pine Cones?

Allergic reactions and Pinemouth are two adverse effects that can result from eating Pine cones. So stay away from Pine cones if you are allergic to Pine trees. Allergic reactions can be tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing, and swelling of the tongue, throat, nose, and lips.

Pine mouth is when you have a metallic taste in your mouth that does not go away for days or even weeks. This happens because of the sap in Pine Cones. You are more likely to get Pine mouth if you eat more Pine cones. Pine mouth may not happen until a few days after you eat Pine Cones.

How to prepare Pine cones for eating?

Boiling Pine cones will make them softer and easier to eat. But this would not make Pine cones that are more mature edible due to their hardness. If you need to add mature Pine cones to your meal, one good way to do this is by grinding them into flour.

There are other ways to make Pine cones more appealing to eat. One such way is to make Jam, honey, tea, or alcohol tincture. These are believed to have medicinal properties. 


In this brief guide, we have answered the query “can you eat pine cones”. We have also discussed what pine cones are, Which parts of them can be eaten, the health benefits and risks of eating pine cones, how to prepare pine cones for eating, and more.


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.