Foraging for Spruce Tips: Making Spruce Iced Tea

Here in southeastern Ontario, it’s the perfect time to forage spruce tips. If you’ve never heard of them, spruce tips are the new needle growth on spruce trees. They are edible and easy to identify because of their light green colour. They are also more tender in comparison to old growth needles.

Spruce tips are packed with vitamin C. You can eat them right off the tree, but a lot of people find them too strong. I like using them to make iced tea. But, you can also make spruce vinegar and syrup.

Spruce Iced Tea Detailed Instructions

Making spruce tea is simple and it keeps for up to a week in the fridge.

I use a french press to make my tea. Simply, add spruce tips and boiling water and let them steep for 5-10 minutes before pouring into a larger jug. I do this several times, adding more boiling water and reusing the same spruce. Once that’s done, I squeeze the juice of one lemon into the tea and let it refrigerate.

I’ve experimented by adding lime, cut fruit (strawberries & peaches), and sweetener (honey & maple syrup). I enjoy the variety, but I like this tea best with just lemon and spruce.

You can make this tea with older spruce needles, but new growth has a milder citrus flavour that makes this tea especially good.

Instructions Simplified

  1. Steep a handful or two of spruce tips in a jug with boiling water
  2. Remove spruce and squeeze in fresh lemon
  3. Let cool in the fridge
  4. Optional: add strawberries, sweetener, and ice

Happy Foraging!

If you try this recipe, leave a comment below and let me know how it went. If you are interested in more springtime foraging, check out my posts on lilac water and stinging nettle.

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