Spruce Tips

It was a lovely spring evening, my friends and I had just finished a pleasant dinner and it was still light enough to permit an evening walk. Buoyed with the energy of increasing light, I suggested an evening spruce tip gathering expedition. We drove to my favorite open-grown spruce harvesting location. Bathed in the dueling songs of robins and juncos and the sweet fragrance of spruce, we moved quietly between the trees, picking off the lovely pale green new growth, taking care to distribute our gathering efforts between trees. After about two hours of picking we called it good, hands dotted with little blood spots from contact with the older needles, laden with satisfyingly hefty re-used shopping bags of new growth spruce tips.
Back in the kitchen, I set about to make spruce tip syrup. Here is the recipe I used, it is great on waffles, sourdough pancakes, and ice cream! Enjoy.

Caramelized Spruce Tip Syrup
This recipe produces a deep brown and deliciously sprucey syrup. Take care not to burn while you are reducing and thickening. Also, stop abruptly when you’ve got the syrup as thick as you like as the thickening accelerates at the end.

5-gallon stock pot
Slotted spoon
Canning jars and lids
Jar grabber
Magnetic lid grabber
Hot water bath

4 c spruce tips
2 c sugar
2 c water

Pick spruce tips clean of brown covers.
Dump cleaned spruce tips in stock pot, cover with the water, put lid on pot and bring to boil.
Turn off heat, leave to soak overnight.
Strain spruce tips from water with colander, return water to stock pot, add sugar.
Cook sweetened, infused water on medium low heat for 30-40 minutes stirring regularly until desired thickness and color are achieved.
Sterilize jars and lids in hot water bath.
Pour syrup into sterilized jars, attach lid, invert to cool and store until ready to enjoy.