While the timing is a touch off per the Food in Jar’s Challenge as the tips are only available in the spring, I had to lead with them 🙂
I first started working with spruce tips at “the office” in Yellowknife. NWT Canada, we used them in a number of ways. I have continued to explore them and expand how they are used here on the farm.
In the spring when the spruce are budding out, you can wild forage for them or in your own yard, make sure you space them nicely as you pick them off as when removed, it will affect that year’s growth on the tree’s, picking cleanly will help a lot but you will still need to sit and take the little paper husk off any tips that she have them. They should be still tightly together ideally for most of them..
I like a straight 50/50 but I have friends that prefer a 1 to 4 ratio of spruce to salt.. your call on that one, depends on how much depth of flavour you are after..
Lightly chop them and then measure them out and put equal amount of salt to tips, then put all of it into your grinder and grind together till very finely done. It will be wetter when done..
Spread it out to a single layer in a large baking pan and pop into a slow low oven, or into your dryer.. at herb setting if you have it.. let them go for 20 min at a time in the oven and then start stirring them up and laying them back down, until they are perfectly dry to the touch, allow to cool, then bottle and store..
You will find this in taste to be a mix of Rosemary-lemon in taste, if you were going to make it with basic herbs to try to get the same taste, I would mix rosemary, a dried lemon rind and grind it with your sea salt.
This blend works like a dream with all wild game or deeper flavours off the farm, wild like Canadian Goose or Moose. From the farm, Goose, Duck, Lamb or Goat.
Here is a lovely Moose Stew Recipe for you, using my Spruce Tip Salt along with Spruce syrup…
So here is a lovely Moose Meat Stew Recipe (the flavors where picked to work well with the lovely wild game flavours)
- Take 1 to 1 and half pds of stew moose meat, trim any silver skin or tenders out of the cubes, allow to thaw in the fridge if frozen.
- Make Two cups of very strong coffee, ideally add in 1 cup of spruce syrup or half a cup of raw local honey or 1/4 to half a cup of brown sugar
- 1/ 4 cup of good quality olive oil. Mix the coffee, sugar or spruce syrup and oil together and allow to cool, pour it over the moose meat and allow to sit in the fridge covered for at least four to six hours.
- In a different pot cook up at least half a large rhutabag (the yellow turnip), peeled, cut into cubes and cooked in water till done, then mash
- In your cast iron pan heated to med, add in a tiny bit of olive oil, one extra-large or two small peeled and diced onions, 2 ribs of diced celery and simmer till the onion starts to go clear, then add the meat cubes taken out of the dunk (but keep it in the bowl, we are going to use it) and simmer them with the onion, celery till brown up a bit.
- then pour the coffee, sugar mix into the pan and allow to come back to a simmer, allow the flavours to meld with the meat and veggies mix..
- Ideally at this time, your turnip is done, mash it and add it to the pan and stir it in..
- A finishing touch of Spruce Salt and Fresh Cracked black pepper is all that is needed.. this is a very wonderful combo of moose flavour, sweetness from the sugars and the turnip combined with the depth of flavour that the coffee (red-eye gravy) brings.
This is a delightful way to serve up a very yummy bowl of Moose Stew, my hubby for what its worth, said he would like it put over a bit of hot mashed potato’s, and of course that would work as well, as it’s a built-in gravy.