Did you know these could be in your own backyard?
Spruce tips are the undeveloped buds at the tip of the tree branches, they are normally harvested in the spring time before they mature. They have an amazing and pretty PUNGENT citrus tase that will pair well with so many meals or drinks.
Here are some nutritional benefits before we dive into using them.
Spruce tips are high in VITAMIN C, which is essential for the body’s immune system. PINE OIL is concentrated in spruce tips which is know for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects that could help with a number of conditions. It can be put on bug bites, skin rashes, dry skin or on your chest to relieve congestion. They contain FLAVENOIDS which are powerful antioxidants and POLYPHENOLS that are responsible for the energy provided to our cells which can aid in helping digestion amongst
many other benefits.
Tips for harvesting
When you're harvesting, look for the bright green ends
It’s best to harvest them from a mature tree, or branches that you are pruning as taking too many from a young tree could stunt its growth.
The smaller the tips the more flavour and nutrients it has. Sometimes the larger more mature ones don’t taste as good.
There are different species of spruce trees, so the tips may taste different from tree to tree. The trick is to find one that grows the least bitter tips… taste testing is fun anyways, right? Don’t worry none of the species are poisonous!
Tips for cooking
It’s best to use them when they are fresh, but if you vacuum seal them and freeze them they can last a long time. If you’re going to freeze them I would recommend using them blended as they won’t have the same texture afterwards.
When heated or cooked the tips dry out and turn dark. They actually lose some of their flavour and nutrients this way as well. This style of use is not the most favoured way. I have not seen a recipe done this way but if you have and it turned out please let me know :)
1. Dried spruce tips in tea: Indigenous tribes have used spruce needles for the relief of sore throats and coughs, add it in if you’re feeling a little under the weather
2. Add raw spruce tips to your water with fresh mint and cucumber for a fresh cup of vitamins and minerals
3. Spruce tip pesto: Add spruce tips to your pesto recipe for a beautiful hint of citrus and added nutritional benefits! Go check out my recipe!
4. Meal topping: Chop up tips and add to your favourite salads, soups and more!
5. Extract Pine oil by covering the needles in olive or grapeseed oil on LOW heat, until you start to smell the citrus aroma and can see the oil heating. Remove and let it strain for an hour or until the oil cools.
If you have tried any of these ways to use Spruce Tips please leave a comment below or feel free to email me or connect on social media to share!