Get tipsy with springtime spruce tips

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Photo credit: Victoria Petersen

 

Foraging season in Alaska begins in full force come springtime. With fiddleheads and elusive morels on everyone’s to-pick list, the abundant spruce tips are an easy and quick springtime snack that can go overlooked.

Look for the bright green shoots that are growing out of the branches. They will pick right off when you grab them. Go for the small ones and avoid picking from the top of young trees, as to avoid stunting the tree’s growth.

Enjoy these spring shoots as a syrup. It can be used on pancakes or even in cocktails. It’s a fresh, light flavor that tastes well in gin.

Ingredients:

2 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

2 cups of spruce tips

Directions:

1. Bring the sugar and the water to a boil in a lidded pot. Stir continually.

2. When water begins to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the spruce tips and lemon juice. Cover the pot and leave to cool.

3. Let the spruce tips steep in the syrup. The longer they steep, the stronger the spruce tip flavor will be. Steeping over night is recommended.

4. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and pour in to a sealable bottle. It will keep in the refrigerator for about three months.