A walk in the woods last year brought to mind using fresh buds and tips of trees as an ingredient. We use fiddleheads, ramps and morels. They seem to be the touchstones of spring. And yet the first sweet tips of a spruce tree caught our attention. The soft light lime green color the tender needles, actually needlettes, explosive with flavor and resin and life. Last year we failed to find a source for this amazing product. I failed to procure the ingredient for our kitchen and have had a year to search for a source and allow the ideas to develop in our heads, eagerly awaiting the coming spring.
We found a source. They will arrive via Mikuni Mushrooms who has a forager willing to delve into the forest and extract the tender tips for our uses and consumption. They will be arriving on Tuesday and here are a few of the preparations they will be used in: preserved in syrup, ice cream, a puree to be served with assorted proteins, marmalade, pastry cream of a variation, vinegar, risotto, candied and dried like flowers, bread, butter and butter sauce, mayonnaise, dried and mixed with salt and sugar, infused into soy sauce and sake and tequila (we are in the south west), yogurt.
Those are the first uses more to come.