Spruce is not something I would have considered to be so delicious. I kept imagining that it would taste very earthy and green like gin. Boy, was I wrong. I had my first taste of Spruce Tip Jelly from a restaurant called Salmon and Bannock. They served Spruce Tip Jelly with pieces of bannock and it was so good.
Spruce is an evergreen and every Spring, the tree grows new needles. During growth, the tree produces buds that look a lot greener and more tender than the other needles. There usually is a brown coating when the needles are developing and that is when the trees are almost ready to harvest. Collect the needles when the brown coating is starting to flake off.
You will need to collect about 9 cups of Spruce Tips. Try to collect from different branches and leave some tips on the tree so that it has new growth during the season. You don’t want to clean the tree out of all the new needles.
Clean the tips by soaking them in cold water. Swirl the water around and scoop out any brown coatings. For a stronger jelly, coarsely cut the tips. Since this was my first time making it, I kept them whole. Boil the jelly in a pot filled with enough water that it covers the tips. You can always dilute the spruce water before making it into jelly if you find that it is too strong. I didn’t want to over boil the jelly so I boiled the tips for about 30 minutes. The colour of the tips turned from a bright green to a yellowish green.
The next morning, the spruce water will be ready to be turned into jelly. To make the jelly, I bought a container of Bernardin’s Original Pectin. Follow the instructions for juice pectin. 4 cups of spruce juice, 5 cups of sugar and 1 pkg of Original Pectin. Boil the liquid for about 1 minute. Turn off the stove.
To prepare jars for your jelly, you can follow the instructions in my other jam post. You also can jar the jelly in clean jars if you only plan to finish the jelly in less than a month.
Carefully pour the hot jelly liquid into the jars and screw on the caps. Let the jelly cool on the counter before moving them into storage. It may take a while for the liquid to turn into jelly but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t. The syrup will still taste amazing.
Spruce Tip Jelly has a wonderful slightly tart taste. It can be served with cheese and crackers or even on toast. I love the taste of it and can’t wait till the next season when I can go out and harvest some more!! Enjoy.
If you liked this post, check out some of our other recipes.