Image: Darkmoon_Art / Pixabay via AppleEats Staff

In my house, the Christmas tree remains standing until a day or two after New Years or until it starts looking haggard and the needles begin dropping. Then comes the unenvious task of tying back as many branches with cord as is feasible and hauling it out to the curb for pickup. Little did I suspect that I have been throwing away good food all these years — and sustainable, nutrient-dense food at that. Which is to say that your Christmas tree is edible, according to some sources in its entirety.

If you want your Christmas tree, and by extension the holiday, to live on, you can turn your over-the-hill spruce into soup, pickles, and even ice cream. I specify spruce here because it is one of the more popular evergreens that are edible. (Not all are, by the way, with some, like cypress and cedar, containing toxic chemicals. If you plan to go this route, I strongly advise you to buy your tree from a reliable vendor next year, not one of those outfits that line New York city streets in the days leading up to Christmas.)

One of the best authorities on the subject is Julia Georgallis, a UK-based artisan baker and cook, who has published a book titled “How to Eat Your Christmas Tree.” The book contains some three dozen recipes, including one for a gravlax-like preparation and another for “Christmas Tree & Ginger Ice Cream.”