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Spruce Tip Recipes

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

White Spruce is one of the most common trees on the Island and can be found almost everywhere: in fields, hedgerows, and forests; along roads and trails; and around the coast. I can’t imagine a scenario where Spruce tips could be over-harvested, making it a great food to forage. For more information on White Spruce (and other conifer) tips, check out the Early Spring Greens: Spruce Tips entry in this blog.

Spruce tips are versatile and can be added to all sorts of baked goods or dried and used as a lemony spice. Here are three of my go-to recipes that I make every spring.

Spruce tip salt

Grind 1 part spruce tips and 1 part coarse salt in a food processor. The result will be damp, so spread it on a tray and break up the clumps as best you can. Dehydrate in oven or dehydrator (I find two hours in my oven at 150F nicely dries a batch; I break it apart and stir it around halfway through). Store in glass jars (Photo 1). Nice on fish, in meat rubs or marinades, and as a topping on cornbread.

Photo 1: Spruce Tip salt.

Spruce tip syrup

Mix roughly 1.5 parts spruce tips to 1 part brown sugar. (It doesn’t have to be exact. I use about 5 cups Spruce tips and 3 cups packed brown sugar for one batch). Pack into a clear glass jar and let stand for one month in a warm, sunny place (Photo 2). Virtually all wild plants – including Spruce tips – have yeast, and so you’ll need to open the jar to release the pressure every once and awhile.

After the month is up, scrape the mixture in a pan and slowly bring it to a boil to fully liquify the sugar. Strain and bottle in sterilized jars (Photo 3). Nice on toast, pancakes, ice cream, yoghurt, as a glaze for fish, as a sweeter for tea or club soda, or get creative!

Photo 2: The maceration process.

Photo 3: Spruce tip syrup - the finished product.

Spruce tip vinegar

Boil 4 cups vinegar of choice (apple cider vinegar works well) and pour over 4 cups spruce tips. Bottle and let sit several days up to six weeks, shaking occasionally (Photo 4). Flavour improves with age. Strain and bottle when ready (when the flavour is where you want it, Photo 5).

Use on fish, in your favourite vinaigrette or marinade recipe, or get creative!

Photo 4: Spruce Tip vinegar in the making. Once the flavour is as strong as you want it, just strain and bottle.

Photo 5: Spruce tip vinegar.

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Great recipes! I have made syrup 2 ways. One way like the above except I also added water to the jar of tips and sugar and let that sit for about a month. Early on I was surprised that the liquid reminded me of strawberry. The other way is where I just boil spruce tips in water and let steep. Then I strain out the liquid, add sugar to it and boil this down to a syrupy consistency. I learned of this from a Youtube video from JoeandZachSurvival about 10 years ago. There are a lot of other spruce tip recipes on Youtube now. I'm going to try dandelion syrup soon. I've also pickled some and they kinda remind me of capers. I've also…


None 😊.

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