Remember back in the early days of June when I told you to harvest spruce tips? Well today’s recipe is my number one reason why you need spruce tip love in your life! We are very blessed to have a wild field behind our property and that is where Monkey Man and I went on our foraging adventure.
Whenever I’m harvesting for medicine or foods in the wild I always practice ethical wild harvesting practices and I encourage you to do the same. Monkey and I wandered for an hour collecting a few spruce tips here and there. When we got back to the house we had enough to make a small batch of spruce tip sugar (which we’ll be using today) and some pickled/fermented spruce tips. I use the fermented spruce tips often to add a bit of flavour to my homemade mayo but my sugar has been sitting in the cupboard patiently waiting for holiday baking season.
Why Spruce Tips
Spruce tips are naturally high in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and cartenoids. They are also an amazing traditional remedy for coughs, colds and sore throats. In fact this year my winter salve (which is my version of a vapour rub) has blue spruce resin in it because of it’s amazing respiratory properties. When harvested while they are still young (in the spring when they still have their papery casings) they will have notes of citrus along with a hint of resin. Harvested later in the year you will have more resin/spruce flavour than citrus.
But I Don’t Have Spruce Tip Sugar
Fear not friend! I do have a slight adaptation for the recipe if you don’t have already made spruce tip sugar on hand. For this adaptation you will need to have access to a edible conifer of some kind. Please be sure you can properly identify a species prior to foraging and wild harvesting!
For this recipe you will need to harvest 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh conifer needles – fir, Douglas fir, pine and spruce are all great options. I’ve even heard of some folks substituting rosemary but I have not personally tried this so I can’t speak to it’s yumminess.
A Note about Cornstarch
In my hunt for a shortbread recipe to use I found many that had cornstarch. I asked my sister in-law for her recipe but alas, it also used cornstarch. Personally I have not been able to source non-GMO cornstarch and since this was my first batch I didn’t want to experiment with arrowroot powder or any of the other alternatives to cornstarch. Instead I opted for a more traditional shortbread recipe which contains only three ingredients: sugar, butter and flour. If you prefer using cornstarch in your shortbread all you need to do is add the ground conifer needles to your own recipe (see the recipe below).
I am so happy with how these turned out! They melt in your mouth just like traditional shortbread but they have a lovely hint of citrus and spruce resin that instantly transports me into the field behind the house. Truly delicious I think these will quickly become a family tradition in my house.
Added bonus… after years and years of coveting one I FINALLY got a stand mixer and this was the first time I got to use it. I don’t know how I survived in my kitchen before this wonderful (and heavy) little blessing!
Well I’m off to enjoy some crocheting and a nice mug of golden milk.
Many warm herbally/sprucey blessings my friends and happiest of holidays!