Time to harvest pine pollen in Ningbo
A close look at pine flowers ready to be picked in Qiuchun town in Ningbo's Fenghua district. [Photo/Ningbo Daily]
Farmers from Qiuchun town in Ningbo's Fenghua district recently were busy collecting pine pollen.
China has a long history of collecting and eating pine pollen. The scene of people harvesting pine flowers was once described in a poem in the Song Dynasty(1127-1279). In Ningbo, the harvest of pine flowers usually begins a few days before the Qingming Festival and lasts about a week.
Pine pollen is rich in nutrition and widely used as medicinal material in China.
Generally a person can harvest 100 kilograms of pine flowers a day at most. After impurities are removed, less than 1 kilogram of pine pollen can be obtained.
The tedious and tiring work makes pine pollen very expensive, which is now priced at 400 yuan ($61.5) per kilogram, according to Li Yanong, a villager from Matou village, Qiuchun town.
Villagers usually collect pine pollen for their own use, one of which is to make snacks.
Natural pine pollen, which boasts a light pine fragrance, is essential for making spring snacks like Qingtuan, a green glutinous rice-ball dessert and sesame crackers. It can be used as fillings or be spread on the surface.