Yes, You Can Eat A Pinecone But Read This First

You know that pinecones come from pine trees, right? Beyond that no-brainer, they're a key part of the pine tree's ability to reproduce since they have seeds hidden within. The inner nuts in those seeds are edible when they come from certain types of pine trees. Yes, pine nuts, also known as pignoli, are gleaned from actual pinecones.

Being quite expensive yet also delicious, you might be tempted to harvest a batch of pignoli yourself. Pine nuts that are safe to eat come from several pine varieties, including Sugar Pine, Western White Pine, Longleaf Pine, Red Pine, and Pitch Pine trees, according to MasterClass. Avoiding alternate types is advisable since some are unknown entities while others, like the Yew pine, are known to be toxic — to people and pets alike.

Given that, unless you're very familiar with the various types of pine trees that grow in your area, it would probably be best to stick with store-bought pine nuts for your baking, salads, and homemade pesto. Of course, drastic times call for drastic measures, so there are situations when you might be tempted to harvest pine nuts — or even eat an entire pinecone for sustenance.

Other ways you can eat pinecones

While those tasty pine nuts are decidedly the best edible aspects of pinecones, folks prepping for survival mode have investigated the topic in greater detail. Firstly, eating pinecones is not the best course of action if you're not adequately familiar with pine tree varieties that aren't poisonous. Pinecones and pine nuts can also cause allergic reactions, especially for people with tree nut allergies, so be aware of that as well.

With those warnings out of the way, there are other ways to use pinecones for food, according to Persurvive. Believe it or not, they can be a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and a host of additional nutrients. Before you go out and grab some of those hard, brown pinecones easily found on the ground, though, that's not what you'd be looking for in the case of edibles.

Instead, you'd first look for green male pinecones that are already soft enough to eat without cooking. Young female pinecones that are still green and growing on the tree are also suitable for eating in a pinch, but they should be boiled to make them pliable enough to chew. How good are either of those going to taste? That's up for debate. But hey, if you're in a situation where you have to resort to eating pinecones, that's probably not going to matter as much as getting something in your belly.