Why pickle a spruce tip? I don’t know, why not? After making a pint of ice cream, 3 quarts of syrup (and all the cocktails that followed suit), I still had a lot of buds left over. I thought about making a spruce sugar for curing or a spruce salt for finishing but I knew there was no way I would go through that much of any one spice before it would get stale. So when in doubt, pickle! I’ve read that these guys should be left to ‘cure’ for at least a month before trying. After which I figure they’ll be great on eggs, smoked salmon or to brine a martini. I’ll let you know as soon as I crack a jar.
Pickled Spruce Tips
2 c. cider vinegar (500 ml.)
2 c. water (500 ml.)
1/4 c. kosher salt
1/2 c. + 2 Tb. granulated sugar
1 Tb. juniper berries
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2-3 fresh bay leaves
1. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Return to a simmer and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Keep very warm as you prepare your canning station.
2. Pack your jars with spruce tips about 3/4 full.
3. Ladle pickling brine into each jar, making sure to wipe off any liquid on the mouth of the jar.
4. Run a (sterilized) utensil (I like a chopstick), around the inside perimeter of the jar, pressing on the spruce buds, releasing any air bubbles.
5. If you are canning, replace jar lids but do not screw the bands all the way tight.
6. Process in a hot water bath canner, about 10 min. per batch.