May 20, 2017
Recently I got to spend a lovely spring weekend back home with my mum. It was the perfect time of year to go hunting for spruce tips. The woods were thickening and painted in a lush green. After some heavy rains the days before all colours and smells seamed to intensify and the fire salamanders were busy looking for mates.
I really do miss having quick access to woods and large flower fields. So we took the chance to gather as many spruce tips as we could to preserve this unique taste for the months to come.
When gathering spruce tips make sure to pick only the very young ones. Best if the brown husk is still on and the needles are tightly packed. Try to chose older trees and no ornamental spruce trees. Young and ornamental trees contain less oil and therefore less flavour.
SPRUCE TIP JELLY
_ clean spruce tips and remove brown husks
_ roughly chop them to release their aromatic oils
_ place chopped tips into a large pot
_ add water and bring to a boil
_ boil for about 3 minutes [at that point they will lose all their lovely green color]
[at this point a lovely smell of freshly logged conifers will fill your kitchen]
_ remove from heat and allow to steep until the mixture reaches room temperature [or over night for a stronger flavour]
_ strain spruce tips through a cheesecloth and press out all the liquid
_ mix in lemon juice and bring to a boil
_ combine pectin with sugar
_ once liquid starts to boil mix in the sugar and honey
_ whisk vigorously to fully dissolve the pectin
_ boil for about 10 minutes for the pectin to take full effect
[test if the desired consistency is reached by putting a tablespoon full of liquid on a cold plate and see how it behaves once cooled down – add more pectin if needed]
[since this is a low sugar jelly recipe you might need more pectin – depending on the quality you get]
_ fill jelly into sterilised jars
_ close and immediately turn on their heads
_ leave to cool and store in the fridge [they should be good for at least 1 month]