(written by Andrea)
Ok, the thing about spruce sprouts is
1) In the old days, after a long dark winter, people would run outside to eat the first sprouts of spruce (in the world of forest foraging spruce sprouts are among the very first spring treats)
2) Spruce sprouts are very antibacterial. You can chew them raw for dental hygiene or simply as a natural vitamin booster.
3) Spruce sprouts are multifunctional: dehydrate them, crush them and use them as a spice (they taste somewhat lemon-ish). Dry them and use them as tea (or ice tea) later in the season. Make jam or jelly with them. Add them to your bath (antibacterial plus clears the airways). Chop them and add them to your bread, your granola, your stew.
4) Spruce syrup tastes excellent and can be used as both a cough syrup in the winter AND on pancakes (all year ´round).
Spruce sprouts have a very distinct neon green color.
Small sprouts taste like lemon and health – the bigger ones taste a bit like resin and are kind of chewy.
Every sprout will eventually become a whole branch on the tree so without being toooooo hippie let me just say this: “maybe one should whisper a little “thanks” when picking the sprouts, see we are all interconnected and besides one should always state ones intentions”
Something like that.
Pick the sprouts before they get too big.
These, on the image, are on the verge of being too big.
HOW TO MAKE SPRUCE SPROUT SYRUP
Although there are many uses for spruce sprouts I mainly concentrate on making syrup from them (my family has an insanely sweet tooth)
What you need
A big basket
Some quiet time
Some quality sugar
What you do
Pick the spruce sprouts
Place them in your basket
Then place the sprouts in a jar
Layer on layer with sugar.
Now, I happened to not have any fine quality sugar in the house when I made this fist batch so I used plain white sugar
Place the jar on a shelf.
Take a nap and wait for at least a week until the sugar has become fluid and the content of the jar has sunken (it sinks a lot!)
Then repeat the process. Keep adding spruce sprouts and sugar.
When I added the second batch I was lucky to have some fine brown sugar in the house. You can experiment with your sugar, mix it or use the same throughout the process.
Then you wait some more.
And there you have it.
The sprouts will more or less raise to the surface.
Then strain the mixture.
Throw the sprouts in the compost
Store the syrup in a cold, dark place.
Use as cough syrup or on pancakes. Or whatever.