Spruce Salt - Good as a Meat Rub or a Bath Scrub

Here's the thing about spruce (Picea spp.) tips - they are invigorating.  They have all of the lovely home cozy pine-y scent that we associate with winter.  But their taste is zingy and refreshing and full of life.  And all of this makes them seem like the perfect featured ingredient for the Wild Things Round Up in March, a period when winter and spring are in a constant tug-of-war with time.

If you're new to the idea of eating evergreen trees, here's a simple way to get acquainted with the flavor - spruce (or pine or fir) salt.  All you have to do is collect the most tender tips you can find, chop them finely with a sharp knife, then grind them up with nice sea salt in a mortar and pestle (alternately, whiz the two up in a food pro).

Spruce salt can be used in a lot of ways, in and out of the kitchen.  Use it as a rub with your favorite meats, or include it in a brine.  Use it sparingly to finish a long-cooked dish like osso bucco or a slow roast.  Try is on veggies - it pairs particularly well with mushrooms and roasted potatoes.  And if you are very daring, put the slightest sprinkling of spruce salt atop fruit desserts.

And spruce salt is a multitasker - it can be used as a part of your self-care routine as well.  Combine spruce salt with a little honey and/or olive oil, and use it as a refreshing shower scrub.  The brisk aroma and tingly sensation of this scrub are quite exhilarating.

Store your extra spruce salt in a sealed glass container (preferably vacuum-sealed) to help preserve all of it's fragrant oils.

Wild Things Round Up is a foraging recipe challenge, and you are invited to play along.  For more great recipe ideas, as well as information about medicinal uses of spruce/fir/pine tips, visit my co-host Bek, of Cauldrons and Crockpots.

I'm sharing this recipe with Real Food Wednesday, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.


  1. Wow I've never heard of Spruce Salt how interesting! Thanks so much for the info.

  2. This sounds so interesting! I just found a few spruce tip recipes in the book The Wild Table, and on top of this one I'm definitely inspired to find some myself!

  3. You're the most inventive partner a girl could wish for. Seriously, I love how you push the boundaries of things, but in such a simple way as to make them easily accessible. I am making spruce salt right now, since I have a bunch of spruce tips lying around :).

  4. Ohhh.....this sounds heavenly! I am totally gonna try this! When you say spruce tips, do you mean the buds or the tips of the needles? Newbie foragers want to know! Hugs! alex

  5. Chandelle - Bek has read that book, and I know she loves it. It's an amazing ingredient. I'm sort of slapping myself upside the head for not using what was in my backyard all along :/

    Alex - My friend, you make a good point. The tips are the fresh green spring growth, or buds. But for this recipe, more mature needles may be used.

  6. I cannot wait to try this - I think a little would be fabulous on a steak. This will be my first real foraging and I am stoked!!

  7. We have a side yard that is almost completely enclosed in pine trees. It is so relaxing to sit in there while my son plays with the pine cones and my cats eye the jays. I love all the ways I am learning to use those trees in the kitchen. I can't believe they have been there all along I have only been bringing their glorious scent into the house during the holidays.

  8. Christy - You'll remember that all of those months ago, when we conceived the Wild Things Round Up, it was people like you that we had in mind. Let's get out there and learn and create together :)

    Alea - How are you using them???? Oh wait, don't tell me until the end of the month!!

  9. Hey, question!
    I know this is for march, but I was wondering if using wintery needles for some things wouldn't be so bad. What do you think? Would they be too tough?

    1. Sure! We actually don't get tender young tips until about May here. But all conifer needles are flavorful. Just be aware of the potential choking hazard, and also know your trees (basically, you don't want to eat a poisonous yew). You can use whole needles in infusions, then strain them out. Or you can snip them up finely with scissors, then grind them away a bit with a mortar and pestle, and sift out the larger bits. Lots of potential!


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