Foraging and Cooking with Spruce Tips

I’m back!  The last couple months have been CRAZY!  Teacher friends – I know you understand the end of the school year struggle.  Non-teacher friends – just imagine attempting to teach, assess and manage 20+ super hyped children, who are eager for summer, while also writing report cards, packing up your classroom, organizing things for the next year, and arranging end of the year parties, field trips, and events.  Whew!  Exhausted just thinking back to the month of May!

Add in graduate classes, packing up my house, marathon training, an energetic pup, and a 4-year old…  You get the picture.

While I haven’t had time (or energy) to write any new content recently, old readers may notice I have been making some changes!  You may remember one of my New Year’s goals was to blog more!  So I’ve been keeping my word on that goal and learning more about coding, SEO (still need help/tips on this one), CSS, and all those other blogger terms that I previously had no idea existed!  I’ve adjusted the theme slightly, created a new logo, and developed a “mobile friendly” site.  Still working on the mobile version so if you’re reading this on a phone, bare with me.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited with the changes.

BUT, this post is not about blogging.  This post is about SPRUCE TIPS!

Spruce Tips

Spruce tips are one of my favorite signs of spring/summer.  They are the soft, bright green tip of the spruce tree that emerge at the end of the sharp, prickly branches.  The tips are actually the new growth shoots from the tree.  But don’t worry, as long as you pick from scattered spots on the tree, it will not affect it’s growth.

Spruce Tips

To harvest the tips, simply pinch them off the branch and remove the brown papery casing.  Easy peasy!  The smaller, tight tips are the best for picking.  Once they start to “feather” out, they are past their prime.

Picking Spruce Tips

Picking Spruce Tips

Once picked, there are SO many wonderful things you can do with spruce tips.  Syrups, teas, cookies, breads, oils, salt, sugar, BEER!

My favorite recipe is this Spruce Tip Rhubarb Syrup from a local food blogger.  I made this last summer and paired it with some chilled vodka and soda water.  Delish!

This year I was short on rhubarb (fixing that problem STAT)…  So I set out to try something new.  I made up a batch of this Spruce Tip Syrup, then mixed the following beverage:

-2 oz. Icy Straight Vodka (from the Port Chilkoot Distillery in Haines)

-1/2 oz. Spruce Tip Syrup

-3 drops Rhubarb Bitters

-1/2 oz. soda water

-lemon wedge

Spruce Tip Cocktail

Now, typically you will see spruce tips mixed with gin.  The flavors compliment each other quite well.  But I had a bottle of vodka on hand (actually from last summer when I made the rhubarb syrup) so that’s what I used.  If you aren’t as lazy as me, you might go to the store and pick up a bottle of gin.

Either way, yummy!

Spruce Tip Cocktail

Next up on my spruce tip agenda – salt and shortbread!

Until then, here are some of my favorite spruce tip recipes from around the web to get you baking, mixing, and enjoying!

Spruce Tip Shortbread Cookies – Little House Big Alaska

Spruce Tip Salt – Cider & Rye

Spruce Tip Jelly – Hitchhiking to Heaven

Spruce Tip Ice Cream – Forager Chef

Pickled Spruce Tips – Well Preserved

Additionally, you can simply dry the tips and store for tea.  Spruce tips are high in vitamin C and when brewed in tea with a dash of raw honey, can be used as a natural cold remedy.

In Southeast Alaska you can still find spruce tips that are ready to pick but they won’t be around much longer!  Get yourself out there and start picking!

Happy foraging friends!


>>With love, from Alaska<<


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