Many Americans spend the holidays at home, cooking and celebrating Christmas around a warm fire and brightly decorated Christmas tree. After the celebrations, most set their trees out on their curb to be picked up and recycled or thrown out.

But René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of the restaurant Noma in Denmark, recently wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times with a few different ideas about what to do with your Christmas tree and not to let it go to waste.

He suggests using the needles and branches to flavor anything from cookie dough, to roasted chicken and smoked meats. He also uses it for greens, game meats, fish and even steaks.

Redzepi said his restaurant uses the needles as a spice and that you “can cook with a branch of spruce or fir as you would a sprig of rosemary or thyme.”

He says the needles and branches generally have a light, aromatic feel to it and work especially well in oils and vinegars.

Overall, Redzepi said with the amount of Christmas trees produced each year, “it seems pointless simply to discard this bounty after only a few weeks of using it as ornamentation.”

Click here for more on how you can use leftover Christmas trees to flavor your food, including recipes for spruce butter, oil and vinegar.

Photo Credit: By Anssi Koskinen [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons