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Foraging for Mocktails. Part 1: Spruce Cones

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Mocktail Recipes
| Spring
2023 |
Volume 2,
Issue 1

Foraging for Mocktails. Part 1: Spruce Cones

Photography and recipe concepts by Paloma Sendrey

The immature cones of the Norway spruce tree, Picea abies (as well as those of the pine, hemlock and fir), contain compounds that are thought to help with respiratory issues, memory, and anxiety. They are also anti-inflammatory and contain vitamin C and minerals. The cones can be dried and made into a tea, cooked down into a syrup (see recipe below), or macerated in sugar and left to lightly ferment and release their liquids in the style of Italian Mugolio.

 

Look for the soft, unripe immature cones that are either green, pink, or purple in color and easy to cut through. These cones are found in the spring, as opposed to the tougher, woody brown cones that are found in the fall. The bright green new growth on each branch, known as spruce tips (shown left), is also edible and has a light citrus flavor.

Norway Spruce Negroni

Serves: 1

INGREDIENTS (click ingredients to view products)

INSTRUCTIONS

Add all ingredients to a rocks glass over one large sphere or cube of ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

The recipe below is a quicker, do-it-yourself version of the traditional Italian syrup Mugolio, which is fermented for months to bring out the resiny flavor of the cones. See below or a ready-to-use version that you can add to your pantry staples.

Norway Spruce Syrup

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Inspect and wash the soft spruce cones. 
  • Add the cones to a sauce pan with the sugar, two cups of water, and the lemon juice. Allow to simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is reduced by half. Add an additional cup of water and continue simmering. 
  • Repeat with the last cup of water and simmer until you have a slightly thickened, deep orange syrup (the mixture will thicken more upon cooling). 
  • Strain and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Try it for yourself:

Primitivizia Mugolio Pine Bud Cone Syrup

Related articles:

Articles

All About Foraging

Check back for three more recipes coming soon!

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