- Young spring growth from a spruce tree* (just the light green “new growth” tips) – about 30 of them
- 1 bag of Brown Sugar (dark brown if available)
- Quart Mason Jar
Combine the spruce tips and sugar and pack into a quart jar, pressing down occasionally to compact the mixture.
Leave the jar out at room temperature. Some people leave them in the sun, which speeds the process.
You’ll notice the volume of ingredients decrease as the spruce tips release their liquid.
Keep the jar like this for 1-2 months, or for an “old-school version”, bury it in the ground and dig it up the next spring. Stir the jars occasionally, pressing the tips down to keep them under the syrup with a clean spoon.
To make the syrup
After the initial processing (aging with sugar) pour and scrape the spruce-sugar slush into a pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar, strain, then bottle and store. Discard the spent tips.
If for some reason, your syrup is a bit thick after cooling (over-reducing can stiffen or crystalize in the fridge) warm it back up and carefully adjust the consistency by adding a touch of water.
Storing the finished syrup
Store the finished syrup in the fridge.
To preserve it long term (it’s totally safe as it’s basically all sugar)
pour it boiling hot into a jar nearly to the brim, turn upside down and allow to seal, or process in a water bath in mason jars.
If held at room temp after opening mold may form on the top, but it can always be re-boiled and refrigerated. This is super sturdy stuff.
The syrup is shelf stable and safe as-is, but if you want to preserve it in jars at room temperature, boil it, then pour into jars, turn them upside down, and wait for them to seal. You can also just store it in the fridge. If you store it at room temperature, the flavor will slowly diminish over time (slightly at 1 year, noticeable at 2 years) .
Spruce Honey or Maple Syrup
If you want to make this with honey or maple syrup, use the below proportions and proceed as directed. The mixture will ferment as there is a higher water content, which is fine.
- 3 oz (90g) 1 generous cup spruce tips
- 1 lb (1.3 cups) honey or maple syrup
*any variety spruce tree can be used