Somehow I managed to miss the time when birches grew buds. I may have to wait another year to make bud spirits but at least I was right on time collecting those gorgeous light green spring growths (kerkkä) of spruces for syrup. I'm planning to make a second round when they grow red flowers and present yet another flavour, perhaps this time for spruce beer or cough-mixture. Just remember that gathering a tree's annual growth means the tree won't grow its branches that year so you'll need a permission from the land owner.
- 1.5 l spruce shoots
- 2 l water
- 1 kg sugar
(- 1 vanilla pod)
Soak the growths overnight. Cook them in the soaking water for 2 hours under a lid. Filter. Add the sugar to the liquid (plus the vanilla if you want) and cook until the syrup has turned brown and sticky. That should take at least another 2 hours. If the sugar starts to form bubbles that look like pearls you're in the risk of getting a caramel paste (that will soon dry hard and solid). Put the syrup in an airtight glass jar or bottle.
If the syrup should harden in the bottle warm the whole bottle in hot water and add a dollop of water to prevent it from doing the same trick again.
This is unbelievably delicious for example on ice cream or pancakes. Many people like to make drinks out of it. Also try using it in a marinade for turnips or seitan pieces.
(The nutritional values I usually count come pretty much from sugar only.)