Hirvoja Farm

Ebook "100+ Traditional Insights for Everyday Household Chores" is available!

Homemade Spruce Tip Syrup (Easy Boiling Method)

One of the joys of late spring is the arrival of small, adorable young spruce tips every year. Our family especially loves spruce syrup for its unique flavor profile. It can be used to make various beverages, even a spruce beer, and can also be used to season meat. Another favorite syrup in our family is rhubarb syrup, which you can find the recipe for here. However, besides its interesting flavor, spruce is a healthy tree and fresh spruce tips are also very beneficial.

A spruce with spruce tips.

Before starting, come and follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest!

Benefits of Spruce Tips

Spruce tips indeed possess several beneficial properties. 

  • First and foremost, they are remarkably high in vitamin C. I remember as a child being told at home that the more bitter something is, the healthier it is. And there is some truth to that. Due to their bitter taste, it’s difficult to consume a large number of spruce tips at once, but they are highly beneficial and can boost your immune system.
  • Spruce tips cleanse the skin, so a solution made from them is good for treating acne and cleaning minor wounds.
  • Spruce tips are recommended for alleviating cough symptoms—you might even call it a natural cough syrup! 
  • Spruce tip syrup also helps treat sore throats.

Preserving Spruce Tips

Similar to most herbs, there are several ways to preserve spruce tips. You can make oil, or tincture, dry them and store them in honey, or extract the natural moisture from spruce tips along with brown sugar. Of course, there are other methods as well. The list is just a brief compilation to give you some ideas. I enjoy boiling spruce tips because it makes it easier to store them for making spruce tip beverages—sealed jars in the cellar, and I don’t have to worry about spoilage or molding. However, to retain their maximum healing properties, it is best to store them without water. Vitamin C is water-soluble, and if soaked in water for too long, or worse, exposed to heat, the vitamin C content gradually decreases.

A lot of glass jars.

Harvesting Spruce Tips

Spruce tips should be approximately 2-3 cm long and noticeably lighter green compared to older branches during harvesting. At this stage, bright green tips possess the strongest flavor and medicinal properties. Good-sized spruce tips typically appear in Estonia’s climate in late spring, the first in early May. In shadier groves or on the northwest side, you may also find small spruce tips in June.

When harvesting spruce tips, remember that if you pick all the tips from a tree, it will not grow further that year. However, moderate harvesting will result in a tree bearing even more the following year. If you’re searching for spruce tips early in the season, look for them in sunny and well-lit areas where you are more likely to find larger spruce tips. Late harvesters, on the other hand, should explore shadier spots. It’s important to note that picking spruce tips from areas near major roads or other polluted areas is not a great idea. 

A small hand picking spruce tips.

Ingredients for Spruce Tip Syrup

Spruce tips

Water 

Sugar

Cooking pot

Strainer or clean cloth (such as cheesecloth)

How to Make Spruce Tip Syrup

  • Add enough water to cover all the spruce tips in a pot. The amount of water isn’t so super important. Since they tend to float, you can press them down with your hand to get a better vision of the water level. If you add too much water, the resulting infusion will be more diluted. Keep in mind that the pot should be large enough to allow room for sugar, as sugar significantly increases the water level.
  • Let the spruce tips soak in the cold water for about a day. While they are relatively strong plant parts, soaking them helps enhance their flavor as they become softer in water (although the vitamin C content does decrease, it would decrease later anyway). You can skip this step if desired.
  • Next day, after soaking, add sugar to the pot. As a general guideline, use about 1 kg of sugar for every 5 liters of water, so approximately one part sugar and 5 parts water. However, the sweetness level can be adjusted to personal preference.
  • Bring the syrup to a boil and simmer with the lid on for about an hour. During this time sugar melts, the spruce tips will darken and and lose their green color, and the liquid will turn brownish.
  • Strain the spruce tips from the liquid as much as possible.
  • Store the syrup in airtight glass bottles or glass jars in a cold place, such as a cellar.
  • The concentration of the spruce tip syrup made in this way is approximately 1:6 – 1 part syrup to 6 parts water.
A bunch of spruce tips.

Ideas and Tips

  • You can also make another decoction with already-used spruce tips. In that case, I recommend using significantly less water, as the resulting decoction will be less concentrated.
  • Spruce tip syrup can also be made from dried spruce tips.
  • Try to make spruce-tip tea of fresh spruce tips as well! 
Spruce tip syrup in a cooking pot.
A spruce with spruce tips.

Spruce Tip Syrup

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 10 minutes

Spruce tip syrup is especially loved by our family for its unique flavor profile. However, spruce tips are also very beneficial for health.

Ingredients

  • Spruce tips
  • Water - just enough to cover the spruce tips
  • Sugar - 1kg to 5l of water
  • Cooking pot
  • Strainer or clean cloth (for example cheese cloth)

Instructions

  1. Add enough water to cover all the spruce tips in a pot. The amount of water isn't so super important. Since they tend to float, you can press them down with your hand to get a better vision of the water level. If you add too much water, the resulting infusion will be more diluted. Keep in mind that the pot should be large enough to allow room for sugar, as sugar significantly increases the water level.
  2. Let the spruce tips soak in the cold water for about a day. While they are relatively strong plant parts, soaking them helps enhance their flavor as they become softer in water (although the vitamin C content does decrease, it would decrease later anyway). You can skip this step if desired.
  3. Next day, after soaking, add sugar to the pot. As a general guideline, use about 1 kg of sugar for every 5 liters of water, so approximately one part sugar and 5 parts water. However, the sweetness level can be adjusted to personal preference.
  4. Bring the syrup to a boil and simmer with the lid on for about an hour. During this time sugar melts, the spruce tips will darken and and lose their green color, and the liquid will turn brownish.
  5. Strain the spruce tips from the liquid as much as possible.
  6. Store the syrup in airtight glass bottles or glass jars in a cold place, such as a cellar.
  7. The concentration of the spruce tip syrup made in this way is approximately 1:6 - 1 part syrup to 6 parts water.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 16Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 210mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related posts

Must try recipes

A woman standing.

Anette Hirvoja

A stay-at-home mom and a wife

Having lived in the countryside my entire childhood, I have always dreamed of raising my own children in a rural environment. Our family holds traditions in high regard and we strive to live a hardworking and down-to-earth lifestyle. I believe that great results can be achieved through hard work and dedication. I enjoy living in harmony with nature, using traditional solutions, establishing a comprehensive farm, and adopting a self-sustaining way of life.

Hirvoja Farm

Come and take part of our families' everyday activities!

Everything from scratch, natural and traditional lifestyle and homemaking.

Skip to Recipe