Feel free to use the fresh tips of any type of evergreen tree that has needles, like Douglas Fir, White Pine, or Blue Spruce.
Just use common sense. Make sure the branches are high enough on the tree that they haven't been exposed to the habits of neighborhood dogs, that they aren't so close to a main thoroughfare that the needles are coated with car exhaust, and that you are familiar enough with the area that you know the trees haven't been sprayed with any kind of pesticide.
Use the syrup in cocktails or mocktails, or experiment with the syrup when baking. Try adding a touch to buttercream frosting or bundt cake glazes.
If you want your syrup to be REALLY green in color, try pureeing some chopped parsley with the mixture during the blending phase.
Adding 1/2 ounce of vodka to the syrup will act as a preservative, enabling you to keep it fresh (in the refrigerator) for a few more weeks at least.
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 cup evergreen needles, stripped from a fresh evergreen branch, which has been thoroughly washed and allowed to dry
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for color (optional)
- 2 TBS vodka, as a fixative (optional)
1.) Add water and sugar to a saucepan, and bring to a boil while stirring over medium-high heat. When sugar has dissolved, add the evergreen needles, and boil for approximately 10 minutes.
2.) Remove from heat and let cool.
3.) Pour contents of saucepan into a blender, along with parsley, if using, and puree for a minute or two, until evergreen needles are finely chopped.
4.) Place a damp coffee filter or cheesecloth into a funnel and strain mixture into desired container...something like a bottle or decanter that has a tight-fitting lid. This might take an hour or more, depending on how thick the mixture is. Sometimes it is easier to carefully change to a new filter while straining.
5.) Add the vodka to the syrup if you want it to stay fresh longer. Otherwise use it up within a week. Store in refrigerator either way.