Spruce Tip Syrup




About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (tessel.io); now thinking about climate...

I am part Tlingit, a native tribe from Southeast Alaska. My parents recently visited my dad's hometown of Pelican, Alaska, on on their return they sent me some freshly harvested spruce tips.

Spruce tips are a delicious, citrusy snack right off the tree- but that's a bit strong for most people. It is more commonly brewed as tea (it's full of Vitamin C) or turned into spruce tip syrup.

In my experience, spruce tip syrup is similar in application to maple syrup, though I read online that you can also make cocktails and various other recipes with it.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Harvesting Spruce Tips

Pinch off the end of the tree tips and take the brown scaly casing off.
Spread out to air dry. Play some good music in the background.
Best done in late April or early May as the buds emerge (in Southeast Alaska- will vary based on climate).

Your yield of syrup will be similar in volume to the amount you pick.

Step 2: Materials

Your spruce tips, of course! Dried or fresh.

You will also need:
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Cheesecloth
  • A pot with a lid

Step 3: Cook

You will need roughly equal amounts of water and sugar, which should also match your quantity of spruce tips.

Put everything in a pot; stir over low heat until the mixture reaches a rolling boil. Simmer 5 minutes or longer.

Step 4: Steep

Remove pot from heat. Cover. Allow to steep until completely cool (or longer, for stronger spruce flavor).

Step 5: Strain

Pour over a cheesecloth to strain out solid spruce pieces.

You can save the solid pieces and eat them as candy!

Step 6: Enjoy!

Consume it however you like it! This link has a lot of good spruce tip recipes: http://medcookingalaska.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-to-harvest-spruce-tips-with-recipes.html

You can also store it for up to 4 months refrigerated in an airtight container.

Be the First to Share


    • STEM Contest

      STEM Contest
    • Cookies Contest

      Cookies Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest

    14 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 5

    You can add stevia and a bit of cornstarch after boiling the tips to make a syrup without sugar. I freeze a cup or two of tips and thaw a few for meat garnishes. Excellent with buffalo.


    7 years ago on Step 5

    I have a question about making the candy. Would you need to dry the pieces first, say maybe in a dehydrator or in a low-degree oven, to get the moisture out? Would hate for anything to go to waste, especially if it tastes good!

    Thanks for great 'ible.


    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    :) Mine didn't need to be dehydrated, and it has lasted a few months now. I think it just dries out by itself. Though if you do end up dehydrating, I'd love to learn how it turned out!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, I really like the look of this recipe. Do if you know which kind of spruce this is, and if other species are also edible? I live in Scandinavia and would like to try this recipe out over here if I could.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I had a friend in the AirForce who was a native from Alaska who got these "candies" in care packs from home, we all thought he was teasing about what they were. They were really good !


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Equal amounts of water, sugar, and spruce tips - as measured by volume or by weight?

    2 replies

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I make this every summer, and do also cook jelly from it as bread-spread.
    I found out that you don't have to clean them from the brown scale-thingies,
    i tried both ways, and there is no difference. TIME SAFER ;)

    I like the taste very much!
    good instructable - reminds me what to harvest soon :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Sounds delicious. I wonder if you could substitute spruce tips into an elderflower champagne recipe and make spruce champagne.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    That's awesome! I keep hearing about spruce tips lately - I'm going to need to try this. :D