The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Update on the pine needle vinegar


Photo: Pine needle vinegar christened Anne

Photo: Pine needle vinegar christened Anne

Unless you are a truly dedicated reader of the blog you will have forgotten Hunky, Nirvana and Anne. These were the names for the three different types of pine needle vinegar that we made back in November.

Apparently a good pine needle vinegar can taste similar to balsamic vinegar.

This vinegar has been maturing in the barn since then. Last night we decided to sample it so I pulled on my boots and searched the preserves shelves with a torch.

The first we tried was Hunky. Aptly named as it took Danny a good ten minutes to open the metal ring, Finally he managed it with the help of a silicone trivet that doubles as a jar opener. We both hung back urging the other to go first,
“You made it so you should be the first to try it.”
“I think that you are more worthy of that honour.”
The nest of pine needles didn’t look at all appetising. Eventually stimulated more from curiosity than greed I reached for a teeny teaspoon and sampled a drop. Danny observed me closely – wanting the suspense to continue I didn’t comment (it was surprisingly good) and just passed the spoon to him.

He sniffed the open jar gently and put a drop on his tongue.
“It’s not at all bad. Aromatic, piney and interesting. Although I have never tasted raw Balsamic, this has the aroma of a good, pine-fragranted Balsamic.”

This evening D queried.
“Why haven’t we tasted Anne or Nirvana?”
I sloped into the barn and found them quickly. Danny was first on the tasting front.
“Well Nirvana doesn’t live up to its name,” he mused and I agreed.
“Let’s sample Anne.”
I went first this time. Anne was good. Very good. Clearer than the slightly fuzzy Hunky. So cutting the needles made a big difference.

I’ve decided to leave the pine needles in the vinegar for a few more weeks. We’ll be tasting them on a weekly basis. At the moment I have a longing to add a teaspoon of dark Muscovado sugar. If I still have this thought in two weeks time I will add some.

This is a recipe that is definitely worth trying if you still have some green pine needles kicking around.

  Leave a reply


  1. Rachelle

    I have to wonder if this would be more true to the balsamic taste id balsam fir were used versus pines?

  2. Robin Harford

    Looks like I’m going to have to try snipping the needles into little pieces and make my own ANNE pine vinegar. Thanks for doing the experimenting!

    Off this morning to fill up a carrier bag of Douglas Pine needles, which I gave to a local restaurant to make vinegar with. The chef is ravving about it. He used cider vinegar but felt it was a little overpowering, so will try a wine vinegar. Originally I used Monterey Pine in the recipe I wrote about, but suspect Douglas Fir might be better.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lesley

    I know exactly what you mean. Pine loo cleaner is very big in the UK too!

    This is far more subtle that that – almost smoky.

    I’m going to make a bigger amount for the stand using the Anne method.

    Hi Paula

    I tend to just use cider or wine vinegar as Danny can’t eat anything made with cheap vinegar as it gives him heartburn.

    Personally I’d try it with cider vinegar first and then experiment if you like it.

    Hi Joanna

    Apparently the pine needled taste different depending on the type of tree. So you need to nibble a few to find one that you like.

    We didn’t have a choice here – our needles came from a Caledonian pine.

  4. I was thinking of this recipe and wondered how it was getting along as we took down the Christmas tree. We have plenty of fresh pines to have a go at, wonder if one sort is any better than any other?

  5. I remember you saying you were making the vinegar, but I don’t know how I missed the post where you named them. So snipping them is the way to go, it sounds. I have a trio of short pines in the front yard (mugos, I think- they were here when we moved in) so once I get the gumption, I’ll try them. Do I have to use cider vinegar, or do you think plain white vinegar will do?

  6. Maybe it’s an American hang-up — but pine needles = cleaning solution to my mind. And nose.

    Still, sounds like a lovely stand item — and you could put a sprig of you-know-what under the raffia bow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,241,869 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder