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Pine Syrup: A Festive By-Product From Your Christmas Tree

Recycling Christmas TreesJust what can you do with your Christmas tree once it’s served its festive purpose? Sure, you can recycle it, but you can repurpose it into something else you can use.

When Better Homes and Gardens magazine readers ‘fessed up about when they dismantled their Christmas décor, some of them (at least hopefully) weren’t admitting to leaving their spruces and firs up well into January.

According to the Facebook poll, 57 percent of respondents will have their trees and holly put away until next year by January 2. But the rest, well, it’s going to be “later in January” until those stockings hung by the chimney with care–and all the rest of it–are returned to storage.

Even before the big day arrived, news outlets in my hometown (and probably lots of other cities) were advertising local recycling programs to give new (or reinvented) life to the sweet-smelling needle-droppers.

But if you don’t want to cart your tree to the recycling site or you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, then Food Network Magazine‘s December issue has just the tip, courtesy of a new cookbook titled “The Wild Table” ($40, Viking Studio).

Simply rinse the needles from the tree–preferably a spruce or Douglas fir–then chop finely in a food processor. The book also cautions to use needles from trees that have only been watered, no chemicals added.

To make the syrup, bring a mixture of water, corn syrup and salt to a boil. Once that is removed from the heat, the needles are added to steep for several hours. After the syrup is cooled, the needles should be strained from the syrup.

The pine-flavored syrup will keep refrigerated for up to a month. According to the magazine, the festive additive tastes great in cocktails, but no word on what kinds those might be.