I just gathered some tiny cones and made jam.
It turned out to be very good and addicting!
There is no information about when to gather cones for jam in Israel, so I had to guess, but I think my guess was wrong.
The recipes I found calls for 1 kg of cones (2.2 lb). I gathered only 100 g (3.5 oz).
I guess that maybe it was because it was not the season. But if I still won't be able to gather enough cones, even when it's in season, I thought maybe I could try using larger cones (that are still green).
So does anyone know if it still can be good, or why shouldn't I try doing this?
I had never heard of pine cone jam, so I'm thankful you posted this!! I love pine tree oil and pine incense...and yes, Pine-Sol cleaner...even though I shouldn't...
I did some research and found that only green, soft pine cones should be used,and they should be no more than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). The reason behind using only small cones is that as they mature they become more 'woody' and tough and won't soften properly in the recipe.
I also found that pine cones for jam are harvested in June in the North and May in the South. These regions were in Russia and South towards Turkey...and I don't know anything about the climate there.
Unfortunately, I didn't find anything about the correct collection time for pine cones in Israel for you. I'll keep looking.
Pine cone jam is considered a natural remedy for 'weak bronchial systems and strengthens the immune system' according to various sources on google.
For anyone else that is interested in attempting this recipe, I found this version somewhere in internet land (webpage).
It appears that it might be a messy recipe, but worth trying. This one suggests clean up with rubbing alcohol after all your implements are cool.
For three medium jars of pine cone jam you need:
8 oz (about 2.25 cups) finger-nail-sized immature pine cones
2.5 cups sugar
2.5 cups water
Fill a stainless steel pot (easier to clean, later) with water and pine cones and bring to a boil. Cook at a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off. A layer of resin will collect on the surface like a little oil slick - carefully pour this layer off, tilting the pot gently over the sink. (And do yourself a favor: do not dump it through a sieve - the resin will stick the cones again and when cool will clog the mesh unless you boil the sieve!). Tilt it off.
Once all the water is poured off, add the sugar and water to the pot with the boiled cones. Return to the stove and and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and cool completely. Bring to a boil again. Turn off at once and cool (it it cooks too long you will lose too much moisture). Bring to a boil for a third time, turn off the heat, then cool again. One more time: bring to a boil and allow to cool for a fourth time.*
* When boiling three times the syrup remains stickily runny. Four boils (above) results in a taffy-like texture once cooled, but this melts again, in heat.
Ladle the cones and their warm syrup into sterilized glass jars. When cool screw on the lids.
I will probably try this as soon as I can get my hands on immature pine cones and will be sure to report my results.
Thanks, Yelena, for posting this question! I'm sure that several of us are curious about this!