It's a Christmas tree in a cocktail!

There’s always a question of what you do with your old Christmas tree when Christmas is over. According to Capital Gardens, you could turn it into mulch or compost, turn it into a bird feeder, or even replant it. But Gastro Obscura has another idea—use it to make a cocktail:

In the winter of 2015, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to extend the short shelf life of a Christmas tree. I drove around London’s leafy periphery, pilfering Christmas tree branches. It was odd behavior on my part, but this foraging exercise was rooted in a deep hatred of waste: My goal was to figure out how to eat and drink them.

Soon enough, I was serving dishes such as zesty Christmas tree-cured fish, spruce and ginger ice cream, tart Christmas tree pickles, and sweet apple and fir membrillo. I experimented with cocktails, too: spruce-infused gin, herby pine vodka, and fir cordial. Last year, I published a cookbook, How to Eat Your Christmas Tree, to encourage home cooks to have a good think about wastefulness and sustainability over Christmas time.

Oh yeah, and you can use a Christmas tree to make food, as you do. Sarcasm aside, this is a great sustainable Christmas idea and it involves nice food and cocktails (although I’m sure these festive ingredients would work just as well in non-alcoholic alternatives).

But a word of caution from the writer, Julia Georgallis:

3. Christmas tree needles are a bit like fish bones—they’re often sharp. So avoid eating any uncooked, unchopped needles.

I wouldn’t want anyone to end up at the dentist or hospital because they accidentally ate their Christmas tree so be careful. And make sure you pick the right tree: Spruce, fir, and pine are extremely edible but yew and cedar as extremely poisonous.

Update: Another Christmas cocktail via my friend Cass – spicy pomegranate Moscow mule recipe by Tieghan Gerard

Guy Shrubsole’s ambitious plan to map Britain's rainforests

Atlas Obscura spoke to Guy Shrubsole about his conversation project aiming to map the rainforests of Britain:

Woodland conservationists consider the few fragments of ancient temperate rainforests that survive in Britain to be in more danger than their tropical counterparts, says Shrubsole, who describes himself as a “very amateur, but very enthusiastic naturalist.” “Knowing where the rainforests are is a crucial part of knowing how to save them,” he says. So Shrubsole, using crowdsourced information collected through his Lost Rainforests of Britain website, has begun plotting Britain’s first comprehensive rainforest map.

I had no idea Britain had rainforests but, after reading, these aren’t the same kind as you find in the Amazon. Due to the wet and mild conditions, Britain has temperate rainforests where plants called epiphytes can grow on other plants. It’s an interesting project and I wish Guy the best of luck.

The Woodland Trust has a great page on temperate rainforests, noting that they’re possibly more threatened than tropical rainforests like the Amazon. But I think we need to save them all regardless of priority. Damn humans and their pollution and expediting of climate change.