I hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful and joyful holiday, no matter how you choose to celebrate it (or not). Today we have a shortish post for you, but it is one I strongly encourage you to bookmark and come back to whenever the spruce is shooting soft, moss-green little chubby shoots wherever you are in the world.
You can thank me later. Happy holidays!
2017 has been a great year for me in terms of finally, finally having the space, the time and the economy to start preserving, and learning to preserve, in more earnest. We still do not own our own place, but we do have the space to store glass jars, but also, we have the economy to buy glass jars and bottles over time to build up some proper stock of the next couple of years. Seeing as it is my earnest hope that we will never again have to get rid of what we own to move to another side of the country/continent/world.
That’s right, this frugal weirdo is excited to finally be able to invest in canning jars without having to worry about letting go of them again.
Now, if you have not yet had the treat of spruce-shoot syrup, I highly recommend it. I can honestly say that I did not understand the American putting-syrup-on-pancakes as a child, before I tried this one.
All the syrup we had in the stores was sugar beet syrup, light and dark. If you have never had either of those, they are sickly sweet with not much flavour and absolutely not meant to be consumed as they are.
It was something my mom used for baking gingerbread cookies for Christmas. Then, and only then was the little jar pulled out from the very furthest back on the shelves.
So I was completely in the dark as to why syrup on pancakes could be tasty, until I discovered spruce-shoot syrup just a handful of months ago. My, oh my. Suddenly, pancakes with syrup made so much more sense! We’ve been enjoying them perhaps a fair bit more than we should ever since.
Enter my return to Norway in May 2017, and I was staying with a very dear friend and her partner while looking for a flat. Spring comes late in our part of the world, so in late May it was just about getting towards the time where spruce trees start bursting with small, fuzzy, light green shoots.
With baskets on our arms, we went out into the wilderness and started picking. They are quite small at this point, so it takes some time, but no worse than picking berries in autumn.
The basic premise for spruce shoot syrup is to pick as much as you can/deem necessary, rinse off bugs and what have you, put in a pot and cover barely with water. This mixture is boiled for half an hour, strained through a cloth, and then you measure how much liquid you have. 3 parts liquid to 2 parts syrup.
Then you boil, boil, boil until the yellow, thin liquid is reduced about two thirds and has somehow, magically, turned into glorious, amber syrup. It will be thicker when it cools down, so bottle it up before it gets too thick and impossible to get out again.
Even if you only make this once in your life, I implore you to try it. It is amazing. It bursts of fresh, foresty flavour and the smell is absolutely incredible.
Have you tried spruce shoot syrup? Or perhaps you have some other, local delicacies that are an absolute must-try. Let us know, we love to explore new flavours!