Is it safe to eat green pine cones?

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  1. 0 Votes

    No, it is not a good idea.

    The part of a pine cone that is suitable for consumption by mammals is the ripe seed or the near ripe seed. As the seed gets close to ripening, the pine cone changes color and starts to open. Squirrels, for example will only chew through the green outer cone to get to immature seeds when they are starving. What they really want is the big, ripe opening cones.

    This all makes “biological sense”. The tree “wants” to have its seed spread. The squirrels are perfectly happy to chew the ripe cones off, and let them roll around on the ground a little before they climb down to get them. That wouldn’t do the tree any good, unless the pine nuts (seeds) were mature enough to sprout. Does the squirrel eat most of the nuts? Sure. But the tree is only looking for a couple of viable new spots for overlooked seeds.

    But eating the green, immature cones? Or the pine branches? Or the roots? None of that does the tree any good, so “mother nature” makes sure hungry animals don’t do it.

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