Sure, you can buy fire starters for your fireplace or wood stove, but you don’t have to. Dried pine cones are nature’s perfect fire starters.
If you’re lucky enough to have pine trees on your property, you can easily gather up pine cones in your yard. If not, take the kids out to a community park and turn pine cone gathering into quality time. Don’t forget the gloves (pine cones can be sticky) and the thermos of hot chocolate.
Pine cones will dry naturally when left outdoors, but it takes time. You can speed up the process by placing pine cones in the oven. Make sure they’re free of debris, then lay them out on a foil-covered cookie sheet. “Bake” them at 200 degrees for one hour.
If you’re the crafty type, you can also dip pine cones in wax. Once the wax hardens, you’ll have a pine cone firestarter that’s effective and fragrant.