A gentle breeze blows through my backyard...creating a plume of yellow pollen in the air. While those that suffer from allergies are reeling in horror...all I can think of is how each gust is robbing me of my precious harvest! The pollen plume is coming from the male cones on my Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana).
So I ran to my kitchen...grabbed some plastic bags and some clippers. I cut the male cones off gently as to not shake out too much pollen...then I drop it into my plastic bag. This time I filled 4 bags with cones. Afterwards I will sit and using my middle finger...I flick the pollen off of the cones into the bag. Later I will put the pollen and remaining debris into a flour sifter to get rid of cone pieces and any bugs. (and bugs are common...because they know a good thing!) Don't leave the cones in a plastic bag for long...because they have moisture in them which will condense inside the bag.
So why do this? Well...it is highly nutritious. It is high in protein and reportedly in testosterone! It is really fine so it doesn't require milling which is nice...so it can be added directly to most anything you are baking. It also is a really cool bright yellow...which turns the things you bake...well...bright yellow! Last season my children marveled at their yellow pancakes on the way to school. I just used part wheat flour...and part pine pollen in the pancake recipe. I should also mention that in my opinion...it also tastes good!
If you have a pine tree near you...you ought to try it out. Do know that the window of opportunity can be fleeting as in just a few days...the wind can blow it all away. Happy foraging!