It’s pretty cold outside and the snow is crusted with ice, so Hunter (the rescued dog) isn’t excited about leaving the best chair in the house. Lucky we don’t have far to go.
It’s a perfect day to forage in the garden and pick some spruce needles for a nourishing cup of tisane. Most people call it tea, but unless it has real tea plant leaves, the proper term is tisane, so I’m stickin’ with it. High in Vitamin A and C, who would have guessed? I’ve read that a cup of spruce
tea tisane has five times more Vitamin C than the same amount of orange juice, but I like it because it’s like Christmas in a cup.The branches are still covered with ice; it seems the needles must be fresh. Wear some cotton gloves to pick the needles.
The needles are a little hard to chop, but as long as you muddle them a bit with the side of the knife and chop lightly, the flavour will come through.
Instead of a pot, I steep the tisane in a lovely glass teapot a friend gave me for Christmas. The needles start bright green and floating, and then turn slightly brown as they fall to the bottom. Ten minutes is strong enough for me to get the light minty outdoor flavour, and it seems like maple syrup is just the right sweetener.
Hunter has gone back to sleep, and I’m about to pick up Miles at school. If he doesn’t want his cup of brew, I’m going to throw it my bath. Good for a nice aromatic soak after a work out.
[Note: Don’t pick toxic greens. The following can be poisonous: Yews ((Taxus), Norfolk Island Pine (Araucana heterophylla) and Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)]
1/2 cup fresh spruce or pine needles
3 cups water
Maple syrup or honey to taste
1. Collect the needles choosing the greenest and freshest.
2. Sort out brown or dry needles, measure half a cup, and rinse well. Chop into smaller pieces.
3. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add needles, remove from heat , and let steep for 10-20 minutes. Needles will sink to bottom of pot.
4. Strain, and add maple syrup or honey to sweeten, if desired.