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If you are in a survival situation in the woods and really hungry, and you are unsure about which plants are edible, can you eat pine needles?

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    There are so many edible plants that you can surely find something good to eat in the woods. – Jay Bazuzi Feb 2 '12 at 18:25
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    @JayBazuzi Problem is, there are also so many poisonous plants... – berry120 Feb 2 '12 at 23:41
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    My point is that wherever you are going, you could learn about a few easy, tasty, nutritious plants beforehand. – Jay Bazuzi Feb 3 '12 at 18:28
  • I have seen claims of eating pine inner bark. The needle tea is great and is a good source of vitamin c, but needles are too harsh to eat. – David Reichard Mar 11 '19 at 22:06
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Pine needles have virtually no caloric value.
I would not recommend pine needles as an energy source, although they have plenty of vitamin C and make delicious tea. This is good in winter to avoid getting scurvy in a long-term survival situation.

As already mentioned, Yew needles are toxic to the human body. There are several genera of yew. Generally they grow at higher elevations and in man-made parks.

If anything looks like these yew needles, leave them be and don't eat them:

Yew needles - do not eat.

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17

All pines, spruces and firs have edible needles.

All yews are poisonous, and can look like some of the above, so be careful you have identified the tree correctly!

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10

Yes & no. The U.S. Navy land survival training in Pensacola, Florida teaches students to chew on pine needles to obtain vitamin C. But you don't actually chew and swallow them.

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4

In the spring you can commonly find delicious new shoots on spruce. They are quite good as a snack when there are no other significant sources of food to eat, or perhaps on a hike.

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2

The resin has alot of calories. On a video called how to eat a pine tree I think they said 2000 calories in a teaspoon full. In a museum in hungary they said the shephards used to put it on their teeth from where it comes off slowly and it gave them energy to walk all day.

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    There's no way a teaspoon of anything can give you more than a few tens of digestible calories. The highest calorie content is in fat at 9Cal/gram,and you can only get a few grams of any foodstuff in a teaspoon. 2000 (dietary) calories is near enough a day's worth of food. – Chris H May 13 '17 at 8:04
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    @ChrisH I can only assume they meant gram (small) calories, i.e. 2 large Calories, which seems plausible (USDA says 16 Calories in a teaspoon of sugar). A misleading choice of unit for a dietary context, of course. – Pont May 13 '17 at 10:01
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    @Pont that seems a reasonable interpretation. They don't sound so calorie-dense when you think of eating a cupful to get 100Cal. – Chris H May 13 '17 at 11:21
  • I spent a few minutes looking for references, and can't find anything substantial. I believe the comment by @Pont is reasonable, there several references supporting '16 Calories in a teaspoon of sugar' – James Jenkins May 14 '17 at 10:44
  • @Pont, please note that over here in Central Europe we don't do that large/small calorie stuff: we use calories, cal. 1000 cal = 1 kcal (pronounced: kilocalorie, just like meters and kilometers, grams and kilograms, everything totally regular according to SI. Besides the cal being outdated and J or kJ being the regular unit of energy) – cbeleites unhappy with SX Mar 6 '19 at 17:10

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