Linda's Spruce Tip Syrup Recipe

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Linda's Spruce Tip Syrup Recipe

Postby onwhiskeycreek » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:37 pm

For a taste that is as unique to the NW as Alder, Dungeness Crab, and Salmon. This seems to be our guests most prized possessions when they return home. It is great on pancakes, ice cream, yogurt and as a glaze on grilled or smoked fish. A friend from Oregon just called and said the tips are getting ready down there and wanted the recipe.

Spruce Tip Syrup/Honey

Ingredients and equipment: Spruce tips, sugar, sterilized canning jars and lids (I'm fanatical about this), Straining cloth (use cheesecloth or nylon paint strainers) and lg.colander, canning vessel. You will not be pressure canning, just using a water bath technique as for jams/syrups.
For anyone who has not done this, I recommend getting a Ball or Kerr canning book and follow procedure. Yeah, you can also look it up online but use an approved procedure, not someone's grandma's way, who "always did it that way and never had a problem".

Gather spruce tips when very young and the "brown paper husk" is on or just falling off. The needles should be soft. You do not have to remove the paper as you will wash the tips and later strain so they won't be in your syrup. Some people gather tips when they are longer but I find there is less color and flavor to the end product. I think the younger tips produces a better color, more clarity and flavor. There are recipes that call for a small amount of alum. I don't find it necessary and since it is not a healthy thing, I don't use it.

Put your tips in a colander and rinse off well in cold water. Measure and put into a large vessel. For every 4 cups tips add 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for two hours, covered. Turn off heat and let sit overnight. If you can't finish it the next day, put it in the refrigerator. The tips turn light colored as soon as they heat up and the liquid when finished will be a greenish/milky color. Later when you boil with sugar this will turn clear and a light to dark amber.

I pull out handfuls of tips and squeeze the juices out, then run the juice through a cloth strainer fitted over a colander.
Measure your juice, pour into a large vessel and I mean about 3-4 times larger than the amount of juice you will use. When the syrup comes to a boil it will climb the pot fast! Do not leave it for one second!

And here is the formula:

For Thick syrup, about the consistency of between syrup and honey....1 part juice/2parts sugar.
Stir well, bring to a boil, simmer about 1/2 hour (this will produce a nice color and clarity)...then boil hard for 10 min.
It will thicken more after canning and sitting over a day or two.

There have been times I've added 2+ cups to make a thicker product and it was good and I have used less sugar to make a thinner product. It was good too and more like real maple syrup consistency. We like the thinner for pancakes/waffles and the thicker for sauce over ice cream/yogurt/as a sweetener, etc.

Pour into sterilized, prepared jars (jelly size) and process in water bath for 15 min. (20 min. for pint size)
It is ok to just let the syrup cool and do the canning the next day but you will have to bring it back to a boil. Be very careful when this boils...when you stir it, it will bubble up about three times the amount in your pot so use a big one!

Sometimes I get a lighter pinkish color, this year my syrup is very dark amber. Every time it is a little different and I keep notes to see what may be different. As near as I can figure, color and flavor is probably determined by the age of the tips you pick, where they grow (soils and sun) and how long you boil/simmer. The year I followed a recipe to the T, it was very pale, a bit cloudy and thin. It was still very good but this method seems to consistently produce the my opinion. I have seen syrups that are so pale they are a milky green. They are ok but not nearly as flavorful. Some recipes call for lemon...I don't use it as i find it masks the wonderful flavor of the spruce. Have fun and experiment! You can also make candied tips, shortbread, candy, all sorts of stuff. Google it. Save some of your tips to chop fine and freeze so later you can sprinkle into ice cream, cookies or whatever.

To process....
Fill sterilized, hot half pint or pint jars, wipe rims with damp, clean paper towel, cap and screw on rings but not tightly. Place in canning kettle and cover with about two inches of hot water, cover, bring to a boil and start timing. Process for ten minutes. Carefully remove and place on thick towels to cool. Do not handle for 24 hrs.

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Re: Linda's Spruce Tip Syrup Recipe

Postby Robbo » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:14 pm

Thank you for posting that recipe Linda. I was lucky enough to get some spruce tip syrup from Gary and Linda at the end of last summer and it is flat out AWESOME. I eat it on my ice cream all the time and as Linda mentioned it's also great on French toast and pancakes. Really good stuff drool
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Re: Linda's Spruce Tip Syrup Recipe

Postby Chef Patrick » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:09 pm

I'm definitely going to try this.

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