Pine Cones- Opening

Q: I need some “opened up” pine cones to make peanut butter bird feeders with my students. However, all of the cones I find in the woods are closed up tight. How do I get them to open?

A: My friend Faith Peppers is a former 4-H’er and “country girl” from Madison, GA. She says all you have to do is soak the cones in water for an hour and then put them in a 170 degree oven, “for as long as it takes”. I tried her advice myself and found it to be exactly right!