In the past, the first two things that always come to mind when I hear the words pine cone are air fresheners and Christmas trees. Nowadays, however, my brain instantly conjures up the mouth-watering image of pine cone jam on buttered toast!
Pine cone jam is an Eastern European delicacy mainly made in Georgia and Russia. It is made by boiling foraged young green pinecones with water and syrup until the mixture thickens up and darkens in color, resembling honey. Pinecone jam can be enjoyed in tea or with bread and is believed to have health benefits.
The gears in your head must still be turning so that you can wrap your mind around the thought of eating pine cones.
But don’t worry, your teeth won’t break with this special jam!
Tender baby pine cones are foraged in pine forests across Eastern Europe from late spring to early summer to create this.
Only after they’re cooked do they turn dark and resemble the big pine cones we’re more familiar with as Christmas ornaments and home decor.
Others may also call it pine cone honey or pinecone syrup due to its amber color and thick consistency. Some also use the words preserve and jelly when referring to it.
In Italy, it is called mugolio as it is taken from their dwarf mountain trees (Pinus mugo).
You will see locals selling it in the Streets of Borjomi and Abastumani in Georgia, as well as in Moscow, Russia. Many believe it to be some type of super food as the trees these baby tiny pinecones are taken from offer health benefits.
Eating pine cone jam is believed to help relieve and cure numerous ailments including sore throat, cold, cough, asthma, and bronchitis.
Honestly, though, I couldn’t find any study to back up such claims–similar to many other “wonder foods”.
Pine cone jam is tastefully sweet, with a hint of tartness, and a powerful woody and earthy flavor profile.
It can be eaten on its own by the spoonful but it tastes better when added to dishes for a more complex flavor and enjoyable dining experience.
Use pine cone jam to sweeten your tea, yogurt, or oatmeal in the morning. You can also add them to other breakfast favorites such as pancakes and waffles as you would with maple syrup or fruit jams and jellies.
For a light snack, spread some onto toast and crepes. They also go great with pastries and savory dishes like roasted vegetables, fresh salads, and cheese and crackers!
Also, although the syrup they are in is delicious in and of itself, what completes the jam is the chewy little whole pine cones in it. If you’re having a hard time imagining what that’s like, just think of berries.
It’s actually very to make pine cone jam, just wash the pine cones, and boil it together with some water and sugar!
You can also add some pine nuts if you want variety in terms of texture or lemon juice to brighten it up.
For pine cone jam, an ingredient ratio of 1:1:1 will do just the trick. But, if you’ve got a sweet tooth you can add more sugar.
Adjust the water you add depending on how sweet and thick or how mild and runny you want the syrup to be as well.
Once you’ve got all of your ingredients in a pot, turn on the heat and stir it around. Have it boil for about 15–20 minutes in high heat and then it cool.
After that initial round on the stove, put it back again and let it boil for another 30 minutes. The syrup will darken more during this stage. If it’s already got the consistency you want, you can stop here.
But if you want it to be as thick as honey, just repeat this step again and again until the pine cone jam has reached your desired consistency.
- “Georgian pine cone jam from Borjomi” by n/a in The Georgian Journal