Kuusenkerkkäsiirappi - Spruce Sprout Syrup

It's Midsummer weekend! How have you been celebrating it? This year I spent the Midsummer in Helsinki (it was my first City Midsummer in Helsinki, and it was awesome). I went to Suomenlinna Fortress on Midsummer Eve and walked around the empty streets of Eira on Midsummer Day. The city was so empty! Everyone has gone to their summer cottages and the streets of Helsinki have been left to some odd tourists to wander (and wonder where everyone has gone... I think they must wonder how come there are no people!!!).The weather has been very typical for Midsummer: +10-15 degrees Celsius and a bit of rain here and there...

Recently it has become so popular to pick wild herbs from the forest. Spruce sprouts are the newly-grown parts of the spruce twig: they are light bright green in colour and much softer than the older needles. They should be collected early in the spring when they are still soft and light.
Spruce sprouts have been used from the ancient times. They could be called "Hyperborean lemons" as they are high in vitamin C. Traditionally they have been used as e.g. flavourings to the beer and for making cough syrup.

Even though everyman's right states that you can collect berries and mushrooms from the forests in Finland, one should bear in mind that it doesn't apply to spruce sprouts. One does have to have landowner's permit to collect spruce sprouts (as it might harm the tree's growth). Don't collect sprouts straight for the upper parts of the tree, as it will damage the tree.

Kuusenkerkkäsiirappi - Spruce Sprout Syrup

1 liter spruce sprouts (the newly grown bright green part of spruce needles, to be picked in the spring while they are still small and soft)
200 g sugar

Rinse sprouts with cold water. Put them in a pot and cover with cold water. Let them soak overnight. Next day, put the pot onto mild/medium heat and let the water-sprout -mixture brew for two hours. Take away from heat and leave the brew under a lid to cool for an hour or so. Strain the sprouts away and pour the liquid into a clean pot. Add sugar and let it dissolve on mild/medium heat while stirring constantly. Remove the foam, if formed. Cook for 20-30 minutes. Bottle the syrup in a clean, sterilized bottle. It will keep years in a dark-coloured bottle. Enjoy with pancakes or ice-cream. You could also use it as it is (a spoonful to treat a cold).

Adapted from http://lautasella.blogspot.fi/2011/05/kuusenkerkkasiirappi-snapsi-ja-likoori.html 

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