Why Just The Tip Isn't Enough
A spruce tip by itself will pack a powerful, almost uncomfortable, punch! Although the spruce tip flavor profile is expectedly piney, tasters might be surprised by the range of its profile. Most tips definitely offer a crisp, citrusy, and herbaceous flavor. However, most consumers fail to anticipate the slightly sweet taste this plant also has to offer. Experienced gatherers are quick to note that tip flavors vary immensely, even from tree to tree.
Gathering & Storing
Fresh spruce tips come in a spectrum of green to yellow hues and are in season near late spring, with later blooming in cooler climates. Tips are soft, flexible, and with a bit of resin on the branch. Often they are shedding the papery brown sheath that once encased them. A sheath still attached indicates the tip is young; the sheath should be removed before any cooking or preserving preparations. They can be stored for about one month in a cool, dry environment such as the refrigerator. Alternatively, they can be dried or processed as a syrup, but the future usage options are tremendously limited after these processes.
Preservation & Consumption
The Foreplay of Cocktails: Garnish
Summer is the ultimate time to use fresh citrus and all those herbs and berries you've harvested from your garden. Romantic red raspberries and bold basil levitate this lemonade into the perfect front stoop sipper.
You'll need tools:
knife & cutting board
fine strainer (optional)
You'll need booze & fruit:
1.5 oz gin
1 oz St~Germain
3-4 basil leaves
Betty recommends New Amsterdam gin because of it's light, playful, citrus notes. Find your favorite collins glass and stick it in the freezer while you prepare this cocktail.
In shaker, softly muddle 3-4 raspberries & 2-3 leaves basil. Squeeze half lemon into shaker tin (use caution to remove the seeds first). Add your spirits (Gin & St~Germain). Shake. Strain over fresh ice in chilled collins glass. Betty loves a little pulp in her cocktail, but for those more refined a fine strain is recommended.
Garnish with raspberry and expressed basil leaf (give the basil a little pat to allow the fragrance to be emitted). Place straw directly next to garnish. Find good friend; repeat cocktail instructions; escort said friend with cocktail to sunny stoop; enjoy life.
A Betty (by a broad definition) is honest and brave, loyal and nurturing, witty and fun. She's balanced, quirky, open-minded, complex, and flawed. She's soulful and driven. And I think there's a little Betty in all of us.