Curing Pinecones for Seasonal Decor

 We have been collecting pine cones for our friends who will be making wreaths for sale this season. The wind has been handing them down to us from the tops of our tallest white pine trees.  To avoid getting pitch on our hands we wear gloves to gather them by the box full.
Amber explained that they boil and bake the cones before adding them to their wreaths.  So I found an old rusty tea kettle with a good opening and proceeded to try it myself.  Unfortunately I think I've ruined the good  meat tongs but how else could I hold the cone under the boiling water? The pitch melted off the cone immediately and the whole cone closed in my grasp as I lifted it out onto a foil lined cookie sheet. The incredibly aromatic pitch rolled to the edge of the kettle and collected there. After a while I lifted out the long yellow stickiness and gingerly placed it in the trash can. But I wonder what it could be used for?
While I baked pans full of cones in a slow oven the whole house smelled strongly of pine. In about an hour the cones had reopened and dried completely. The result is a shiny shellacked looking cone. They're beautiful and perfectly safe to handle now.
I have had several people ask me how long to boil the cones.  I held them one at a time under the boiling water for only a few seconds. You can see the the pitch rolling off.  Then I baked them on tin foil in a low oven for an hour or so.  Hope this helps.

Comments

  1. :) Sorry about your tongs! We have extra :) It's what we use too. Aren't they pretty! But yours look like they have seeds in them!!! YUMMY!

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  2. You make me want to go pinecone collecting! You mentioned that you wondered if something could be done with the pitch that collects in the kettle. I don't know what that looks like because I've never done it, but my son, Jay, collects pitch off pine trees and uses it to light fires with. Maybe that pitch off the cones would work for that, too.

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  3. Dayton says I need a more sappy pine come.the ponderosa pine ones r to dry

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