This Spring we started free ranging our small herd (20) Angora, and Pygora goats outside the designated fenced pasture area’s of the farm. Goats are browsers and not so much grazers like sheep, cattle and horses. Goats prefer to eat leaves off various trees, bushes and vines according to their preference (including poison Ivy). There is a lot of goat desirable underbrush under some of the big old Pecan and Walnut trees. There are patches of Lespedeza. Honeysuckle vines and Virginia Creeper abound, Wild Roses, etc. We have lots of browse for the goats to enjoy all around the farm.
Yesterday, I was out in the back forty trying to wrangle the goats back home or at least get them closer to the barn and pasture and not so far afield. The goats tend to wander freely and venture toward the deep woods if left unattended for any great period. But they will stay together pretty much as a herd when they are free ranging in the back meadow along the tree line. To get their attention I reached up with my walking stick to pull down some low branches on a big old pine tree. When I rattled the pine bough all the goats came running. Goats (and I) love to munch on pine needles. Pine needles are very tasty, citrusy and loaded with vitamin C and other nutrition. While the goats were busy munching and indulging on their new found oral treasure, I gathered a bandana full of the new growth pine tips for a cup of Pine Needle Tea to be enjoyed later.
I headed back toward the house with all the goats in tow. On the way back I stopped at one of the many black berry thickets near the barn as the black berries are just coming into season and some were ripe for the picking. I topped off the bandana with fresh black berries. When I got back to the house I put a pot of 1 1/2 quarts of cold water on the stove to heat/ boil. I added the fresh pine needles to make a tea. As the water started to come to a boil I added about 1 – 2 cups of the black berries. I took a wooden spoon and mashed them slightly.
Time for the taste test.
The pine flavor wasn’t coming through enough as I overwhelmed it with the ripe fresh berries. I added about 1 – 2 TBS of lemon grass. I let the mixture steep in the hot water for 20 minutes then strained it through a steel mesh strainer. I like my tea sweet so I sweetened with sugar. The taste was amazing. I think the taste of the Pine Needle/ Black Berry/ Lemon Grass is one of the best brewed natural tea’s I’ve ever tried. The flavor is bold, rich and fruity and it is loaded with Vitamins. The tart citrus of the Pine and Lemon Grass was just enough to offset the sweet ripe berries.
This is nothing like any store bought tea, it is wild and free and the flavor is amazing.
Try it, you’ll like it.