Eat the Christmas tree instead of throwing it away? Julia Georgallis reveals how to do it

Eat Christmas tree
Is the Christmas tree ready for the bin? This is how you turn it into a delicious dish

Julia Georgallis helps the Christmas tree make a second big appearance after the party – on the plate.

© OlgaLepeshkina / Getty Images

There are many ways to recycle the Christmas tree after the party. One is to eat it up. The recipe collection by Julia Georgallis provides the necessary inspiration.

The tree belongs to Christmas. It’s tradition. But as soon as the presents have been unpacked and the last roast goose has been digested, the fairy lights go out. The heart of the Christmas decoration is past its heyday, its purpose has been fulfilled. It is scrapped, ends up on the side of the road, where it waits to begin its last big trip in the shredder. Does it have to be that way? Julia Georgallis accepted the sad end of the trees and gave the plants a second chance – on the plate and in the cup. In “How To Eat Your Christmas Tree” the baker and product designer presents recipes in which the Christmas tree becomes an ingredient.

In the USA and Great Britain alone, around 40 million trees are felled each year at Christmas time, and in Germany it is estimated that around 24 million. That’s a lot of wood. “Trying to eat your Christmas tree is not only a way of extending the already short shelf life of something that has quickly become disposable,” writes the Londoner, “but also a good opportunity to question whether Christmas trees are really necessary “. In 2015 Georgallis started a cookery meeting with a friend with the mission to develop recipes in which spruce, fir and co can be recycled.

Everything was different than easy. They pureed, chopped, pounded, deep-fried. Unsuccessful. “We brewed a few pine needles and the result tasted like pee. We made weird, grass-tasting Scottish eggs that made us sick,” she says. But at some point the knot burst, they got the hang of it. The result is an internationally inspired collection of recipes that can be implemented in every kitchen. Including a Christmas tree tea, pickled eggs with beetroot and Christmas tree needles or cured fish for Christmas. Georgallis promises that it is not about playing around with food; taste comes first.

Recycle the Christmas tree: recipe for vinegar

Probably the simplest and also the quickest method to use the tree (at least a little) is to prepare vinegar. This also works with dry trees. This vinegar is the perfect homemade Christmas present – for the coming year!

Results in: sufficient for 1 mason jar with a capacity of 2 l
Length of time: 30 minutes, plus 3 months of steeping time (at least 2 weeks)
Furnishing: 2 sterilized preserving jars (each 2 l capacity) with matching lids, kitchen funnel, fine kitchen sieve, large scissors, bowl

ingredients

200 g fir, pine or spruce needles (or a combination)
2 l high quality apple cider vinegar

preparation

  • Sterilize the mason jars
  • Prepare the needles: cut a few of the longer branches from the tree. Rinse them under running cold water to remove any residue of mud and dirt. You may see a few drops of dried resin, but this is palatable, as are the dried buds sometimes found on the tips of the branches. Then, one at a time, hold each branch upside down in a large bowl so that the needles form a chevron pattern. Cut these off from below with large scissors so that they fall directly into the bowl. Wash the cut needles again before use. Chop finely.
  • Pour the vinegar into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat (do not boil).
  • Put the chopped needles in one of the mason jars and pour the warm vinegar over them using a funnel.
  • Close the jar tightly and let it steep for at least 2 weeks (up to 3 months). The vinegar is sufficiently flavored when the needles slowly sink to the bottom of the glass
  • Pour the flavored vinegar through a fine sieve into the second sterile glass to filter out the needles. The vinegar can be kept for years.

Important: Not all Christmas trees can be eaten. Cedar and cypress, for example, are inedible. In addition, Christmas tree needles should not be eaten raw or whole. Since Christmas trees are cultivated plants, care should be taken when shopping that as few chemicals as possible have been used and that the trees have not even been sprayed with paint to improve their appearance.

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