Wild Things in March Round Up - Spruce/Fir/Pine Tips and Needles



Bek, my partner at Cauldrons and Crockpots did the Wild Things Round Up this month, and so all of the writing and humor is hers.  Enjoy both her witty writing and the spruce/fir/pine tip recipes that are included.

It’s officially April. I know this because I was fooled by at least 3 articles, one of which claimed that Monsanto was touting the benefits of the lowly dandelion. Which means that Butter and I are picking a new herb for the Wild Things challenge, and that we can compile a list of all conifer recipes.

I had so much fun playing around with conifers over the last month. Often driving for miles (some fir trees only grow at elevation this far south) to find fir trees.I had a particularly funny experience when I jumped out the car to snip off some fir tips, and a couple on a motorcycle drove by. The man shouted “I like your property!” and I started to shout back “It’s not mine” but he was already gone. So I finish harvesting (it was public land, by the way), and carry on driving. They had pulled over at a scenic overlook, and we waved to each other. Then a few miles down the road I saw some pine tips, so I jumped out and started harvesting a few. At which point they drove by again and did a double take. I think of it as so normal to be picking plant bits that I forget sometimes that some people aren’t used to it!


Although the tips were fun and delicious, quite a few of us also played around with the regular needles too-namely because most of the country is still in the last days of winter, and there are no tips to be found. I found the conifer flavour to be stronger in the regular needles, but that it wasn’t overwhelming, and was quite delicious in savoury dishes.

Thank you to those of you who sent in recipes. And to those of you who were on the fence, or wanted to but forgot, or are still waiting for tips, if you do make something, send it to us anyway, and we’ll add it to the list. Next month we’ve got something easy :) .

Without further ado:

Herbalist Darcey Blue made Spruce steamed baby artichokes with Spruce mayonnaise. Be sure to check out her blog– she’s a wealth of information about nutrition and herbalism, and has some fantastic recipes to boot (Bacon mayo? Yes please!).




Alex, the fairy blogmother (and sweetest thing ever) over at A Moderate Life made Twice cooked gnocchis with White Pine Salt. Described as ‘tender pillows of delight’– how can you resist that?!


Butter, the evil wild-foods genius who has two wheels surgically attached to her bottom, made spruce chocolates. I mean, real chocolates with spruce fondant filling. If that doesn’t make you want to up and move to Colorado, I don’t know what will ;) .
Ok so they’re not really surgically attached. But she still is an evil-genius. How else would she come up with things like Spruce cornmeal cake with tangerine goat cheese frosting. Yeah, I don’t know either.
As far as sweet things go, my best experiment was Fir tip shortbread. It was buttery and crumbly and everything that shortbread should be, with that hint of citrussy fir tip. In other words, cookie heaven.
As far as savoury things go, Butter made Spruce smoked chicken. Extra props for taking a photo that I’m sure mother chickens show to their babies to scare them into being good little birds. Poulet hell. *shudder*
I, your wonderful host, roasted a Spruce duck, and ate it so quickly that I forgot to take pictures. Take my word for it: spruce duck fat makes your morning eggs quite delicious.
Butter made Spruce salt-- good as a meat rub and good in the bath too!!!
I made goat cheese and spruce balls. Don’t worry, they won’t turn you into a cheeseball, though you might doubt the validity of that statement given how cheesy it was. *sigh*
And finally, Butter made Spruce beer. I know. I’m jealous too.

Comments

  1. What a delicious and inspiring round up!

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  2. Awesome round up with lot wonderful recipes.

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  3. These look wonderful! Has anybody tried pickling spruce tips?

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  4. Yah baby! I cant believe how good ever green tastes in stuff! I will continue to experiment as new shoots come into season and I can go spruce and pine wild~! What fun and thanks for challenging us!~ Will share this friday on thoughts on friday at a moderate life! hugs!

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  5. Oh, I made some spruce beer, too, and it was wonderful. Thoroughly enjoy foraging, but, apparently, I'm alone in this, in my neck of the woods. Come visit when you can and don't forget the comment love.

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  6. Anon- What a clever idea! *runs to kitchen to make spruce tip pickles*

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  7. This is my first season collecting tips. I'm amazed at how different each tree tastes. I started with fir tip vodka -- which is lovely on the rocks with a tiny twist of lime.
    I also made gravlox (cured salmon) with spruce/fir tips, subbing chopped tips for dill. Adding to the flavor, I washed the salmon in spruce tip vodka before packing on the cure.
    Bon Appetit,
    Nancy
    jerseygirlinportland.typepad.com

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  8. Jerseygirl! I just took my spruce tips vodka to a party, and took your advice of having it with lime. Yummy! Wish I had some salmon to pair with spruce tips. Maybe I can snag some this year.

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  9. Looks wonderful! Thanks for the spruce tip recipes, I featured them on my blog:
    http://www.colorfulcanary.com/2015/10/eat-your-evergreens-17-surprising.html

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