Spruce tips. The Scandinavians have always loved them. The season for these is really short, so when you can find them, grab a bunch and give em a go. They smell awesome: bright, citrusy and fresh. Their texture is soft and chewy. They are widely available, easy to harvest, and delicious.
The only challenge can come from removing their papery husk. The best tips will still be encased in the husk, you want these since they are nice and tight. older tips are still edible but they can tend to break apart when cooking.
One thing I like to do with these little guys is make pickles, which you can use in a ton of ways. At the restaurant I like to put them in a little salad for garnishing fish, or mixed in a vinaigrette. They are easily added to sauces as well, or used as a garnish for soup or a salad; they're very versatile.
Some recipes online may put sugar in their spruce tip pickles, I find that this makes them tough and stringy, and I don't recommend it. You can always add a little honey or something to whatever you are making after you've taken them out of the jar before you serve a dish, a couple minutes of contact with sugar wont hurt, but prolonged contact will destroy their soft, chewy texture.
Pickled Spruce Tips
Makes 2 half pint jars, scale as needed
- 2 cups fresh, young spruce tips, papery husk removed
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Clean the spruce tips of their papery husk and give them a rinse if they are dirty, usually mine are clean enough to just cook as is.
- Pack your ½ pint canning jars with spruce tips, leaving ½ inch of headspace from the top
- Heat the water, vinegar, and salt in a pot until dissolved and clear
- Fill the mason jars with the hot pickling liquid, leaving ½ inch headspace from the lid
- Process the jars for 10 minutes in a waterbath canner, then cool
- Allow the pickles to age for 3 months before using