Spruce shoot syrup.
I've made spruce shoot syrups every few years for decades.
This year, I made it from mugo pine (Pinus mugo) shoots (cos the neighbors want to cut theirs down by a third) and blue spruce (Picea pungens) shoots (cos there's a tree in our garden).
[image:16931 align=left hspace=1]Pic: Blue spruce branches.
The shoots of both were a tad too old for picking, but that doesn't actually matter when you're making syrups. So while the shoots should still be so soft that you can just nip them off, I used my knife on these.
[image:16910 align=left hspace=1]Pic: Blue spruce and mugo pine shoots in a basket.
And my, those picked shoots have a heavenly, very lemony scent.
Edible conifers include spruces (Picea sp.), pines (Pinus sp.), and firs (Abies sp.). I've also used our local juniper (Juniperus communis), but I have no clue if all the junipers would work.
The recipe is my current practical "let's make a syrup then" one:
Put herb into pot, cover with water, let boil on high heat for 20-30 minutes, strain out the herb.
(It should be "40 g fresh herb to 1 l boiling water", but I just cover the herb with water and leave things at that. This works fine for spruce shoot syrup, and it's abysmal for herbs with an extremely strong taste - like thyme.)
Let simmer on low low heat until only 2 dl of the liquid are left, or until you can't be bothered to wait any longer, whichever comes first. Measure that 2 dl, add 1-2 tablespoons of your leftover liquid - let's face it, evaporating off water for syrup is tedious. Hands up, those of you who actually wait for enough of the water to evaporate ...
... add 450 g sugar, let dissolve on low heat while stirring.
Pour into a glass jar, close tight lid, add label: "spruce shoot syrup, June 2006".
Use this syrup as a cough syrup, or to give a taste of forest to teas, icecream and the like.
Mmm. Spruce shoot syrup. This one will be extraordinary. Excellent scent.