Friday, June 10, 2011

Evergreen Syrup

A nifty trick I picked up at Looshaus, a hotel and restaurant in Kreuzberg, Lower Austria.

Pick evergreen "buds" (the small bundles of new needles that appear in late spring), simmer them in simple syrup (1:1 water to sugar), and transfer the whole mess into glass jars.  The syrup takes on a fantastic, minty, pine flavour, which the Looshaus chef says gets even better with a few months storage.  Strain the needles out before using the syrup.

Some ideas for usage:
  • sauces for game meats (think: evergreen gastrique)
  • ice cream
  • in sparkling water (beer flavoured with young spruce needles was once common in Canada...) 
  • pork brines
The same process can be used for other common backyard plants, like dandelion and elderberry.


  1. Hi, Allen,
    How do you tell if the evergreen buds are still young enough for this? I'm thinking Austria is further south than we are so they may still be young enough here. Did you get instruction such as "when this happens they are too old to harvest?" OR do you think they are good as long as the buds are lighter colored than the old growth?

  2. Austria is definitely "ahead" of Edmonton plant-growth-wise. It's farther south (Vienna is somwhere around the 47th parallel) and much more humid.

    You can see a couple of the fresh buds in the photo above. They are a light spring green in servere contrast to the deep forest green of the mature needles. The buds are also very compact - they haven't really opened yet.

    I think as long as the buds are light in colour and relatively closed, they should taste fine.

  3. Brilliant - past this stage here - but there is always next year. Love the idea. Love it!