Well, as you may know, we live out here "in the sticks"...major countryness here folks. And we're lucky to be surrounded by many, many trees, a lot of which are pines. You know what that means, right? FREE pine cones!
So, last weekend I grabbed my big ole blue basket (that we usually use to harvest our veggies from our garden) and went about "harvesting" pine cones from our yard and the woods around our property.
I was disappointed that I couldn't find any decent ones...I mean zero, zip, nada. So I grabbed a few of them that was under a couple of trees and took them in the house to show my hubby.
Now listen y'all, I'm from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and believe me when I tell you that there aren't any pine trees around there, so I'm kinda "pine cone ignorant". Hubby kind of laughed at me when I showed him my pitiful collection and said, "Audrey, they're fine, they just need to dry out, they'll open up when they're dried". (one more thing he can tell his southern family that they'll all get a laugh out of at my expense)
So I hopped on the computer, went to google and found some great tutorials on how to dry them out. Ya learn something knew everyday! But, maybe there's a better way, because this took a while.
I heated our oven to 200 degrees and popped some in there, careful to make sure that they didn't touch each other.
After 3 hours, the bottoms are opening up very nicely, so I stood them up hoping that would help air circulation.
FIVE hours and FORTY minutes after I started "baking" them, they were all opened.
I had no idea it would take so long. I set the timer at 20 minute increments so you can imagine how I was jumping up and running to the oven...how many times? 17 times!
But hey, they're beautiful, they're in perfect shape, and they're gonna look fab on the wreath I'm going to make. Now, here's the kicker...the rest of the pine cones I gathered, the ones that didn't make it into the oven...are opening up on their own, no baking necessary.