Salted Spruce Simple Syrup
One of my favorite mid-late spring forages, spruce tips have a bright citrus-forward pine flavor. This syrup is delicious in cocktails and seltzer.
1 C water
1 C sugar
1 C spruce tips, fresh or frozen, rinsed well
4, 4-5 inch sprigs fresh rosemary
1 orange, sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid. Remove from heat, add spruce tips, rosemary, sliced citrus and sea salt, stir, cover. Let cool and steep 8-10 hours. Strain syrup, store in refrigerator up to 1 month.
- Spruce Tips! One of the easiest and arguably most sustainable forages out there. Emerging in May, spruce tips are the fresh new bright green growth at the end of spruce branches. They are soft, tender and smell of citrus when rolled between the fingers. Look for mature trees and pick no more than 20% of the total tips on the tree. If picking from a younger tree, avoid the apical meristem (top of the tree) so as not to stunt its growth.
- USAGE & STORAGE: Before using, remove the papery covering and rinse the green tips well. Spruce tips store in the refrigerator in a damp towel for a few weeks and also freeze beautifully. When cooked they turn an unappetizing brown, so plan to use them raw. Sprinkle on salads, cheeses, cakes; stir into pastas; grind into ice creams.
- SAFETY: The only possible lookalike that is toxic is yew. They don’t look that similar as yew tend to grow lower to the ground and have wider, flatter, sharp-tipped needles in two lateral lines along the branches. Please consult a reputable tree identification resource like Arbor Day Foundation to ensure positive identification.