Traditional spruce tip syrup

Homemade spruce tip syrup, made the traditional way and easy to store for the following winter. It’s a must-have DIY cough remedy and is, like popular homemade Helichrysum oil and lovely-smelling elderflower tea, free and available to everyone.

Jump to Recipe
image of fresh young spruce tips

Spruce tip syrup

Spruce tip syrup soothes the cough, cleans and disinfects the respiratory pathways, and has a beneficial effect on the lungs. It accelerates blood circulation in the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract; it strengthens, restores, and protects it.

Spruce tip syrup is a traditional »must have« part of your home pharmacy, freely available to everyone. It’s easy to make and store. If you haven’t done it this year, we recommend stocking up on spruce tips next spring. Make the spruce tip syrup the traditional way for next winter for you and your dear ones. You’ll be happy you did it!

What are spruce tips

Spruce tips are an early spring growth of Picea abies or other Picea genus trees from the Pinaceae family. Picea grows in the northern hemisphere.

They grow at the end of spruce tree branches, first as small buds in protective sheets that soon grow into a larger cluster of soft green needles. You can recognize them by the light green color which is brighter than the color of the mother branches.

Spruce tips are soft and tender and taste like citrus mixed with a resinous flavor.

image of spruce tips growing

Spruce tips uses

We can eat fresh spruce tips alone or use them for food preparation ( smoothies, soups, pesto,..) Making spruce tip tea or preparing them with sugar or honey into spruce tip syrup is easy.

Spruce tip extract is used for candy filling and spruce tips are harvested for spruce tip gin. They are used as an ingredient in many cooking recipes.

You can add young spruce tips to a hot bath. A bath with spruce tips will open your respiratory pathways, accelerate your blood circulation and wound healing along cleaning the entire organism.

Spruce tips are also an excellent source of vitamin C, behaving as an effective antioxidant. Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and ensures the smoothness of several essential processes in your body. You can pick the spruce tips in the spring and freeze them for use later in winter.

How to harvest spruce tips for the syrup

Spruce tips in the northern hemisphere usually grow in early to mid-spring. Later the spruce tips become rich with resins. Meaning they are not so tasty as the baby buds just forming the young cluster of needles.

It’s pretty easy to recognize them. You can’t miss the fresh, bright green clusters of soft spruce needles at the end of spruce branches. Harvesting spruce tips is an easy job, basically, it’s just plucking them off with your fingers.

Please be aware that once spruce tips are plucked off, the same branch won’t produce new spruce tips. It’s better to harvest spruce tips from old trees. If you steal all the tips from young spruce, you will stop the growth of the young tree for at least the following year.

Never harvest all your spruce tips from the same tree. Pick them from each healthy tree a little, so you don’t stunt the tree’s growth. Harvest from the shadier parts of the tree or from the undersides of the branches.

image of green young spruce tips growing on a spruce tree in spring

While looking for trees with spruce tips, make sure you only pick the healthy ones. Harvest the tips with fresh-looking bright green colors that are soft and easy to pluck. Avoid harvesting spruce tips from trees growing close to the roads. If possible, harvest as further as possible from traffic or dirty roads.

Freshly harvested spruce tips are very quickly losing their quality, so make sure you use them right after harvesting. You can also dry them or freeze them and use them later for tea, beverages, or food.  

spruce tips growing
Photo by Yoksel 🌿

Benefits of the spruce tip syrup

Spruce tip syrup is an excellent remedy for relieving coughs and treating colds.

It soothes the cough and disinfects the respiratory tract. Spruce tip syrup promotes blood circulation of the mucous membrane, respiratory tract, and mucous secretion. It relieves throat inflammation and has an overall beneficial effect on respiratory pathways.

Additionally, spruce tip syrup restores and protects the dry mucous membrane of the respiratory tract relieves hoarseness and accelerates coughing.

It is known for inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and reducing exposure to infections. Spruce tip syrup contains exceptionally a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens immune resistance, invigorates the body and spirit, purifies the blood, and fights off fatigue.

Besides vitamin C, spruce tips contain carotenoids, which are a component of melanin. Melanin is found in hair, skin, and eyes. It protects organs from injuries. Potassium and magnesium found in spruce tips are crucial for metabolic processes in the liver. The claimed benefits of chlorophyll are cancer prevention, wound healing, and energy boosting.

image of harvested spruce tips in a basket


SPRUCE TIPS – freshly picked; use as fresh as possible

SUGAR – instead of white sugar, it’s best to use brown sugar. A healthier, but also costlier version of spruce tip syrup is made with honey. Keto and low-carb followers can make the spruce tip syrup using erythritol. The ratio between spruce tips and sugar is 1:1

Equipment you’ll need

– glass jars

– glass bottles or jars for storing

– strainer

– gauze

Making the traditional spruce tips syrup

STEP 1: Fill the jars with layers of freshly picked spruce tips and sugar (or its substitution) all the way up to the top. After placing each layer of spruce tips and sugar, push the layers down with a kitchenette. Above all, try to fill the jars as densely as you can, so there will be as little as possible air in the jars.

Of course, once the jars are left in the sun, the sugar will melt, and the liquid in the spruce tips will dissolve into syrup, so the glass won’t be as full as when filling it.

Firmly close the jars with the lid. 

Make sure that the jars are clean on the outside, if there will be sugar left on the jars you can expect your jars to be a picnic place for ants and wasps.  

STEP 2: Find a place around the house where the jars will get enough sunshine. I used to leave them on the edge of the roof! Keep them in the sun for 40 days. Make sure the jars are closed tight and clean. If there will be sugar left on the jars, you can expect your jars to be a picnic place for ants and wasps.  

When the sugar starts melting, turn them around every 2 or 3 days so that spruce tips are always covered with dissolved sugar.

STEP 3: After forty days, open the jars and strain the ingredients using a strainer or, even better, a clean gauze. Compost the leftovers of spruce tips..

STEP 4: Store in clean bottles or smaller jars and keep in a cool and dark place.

STEP 4: Use as a cough syrup alone or add to tea. If you like the taste, you can mix the syrup with water to make juice or other beverages.  

Tips for making a great spruce tip syrup

After harvesting spruce tips, make sure you use them as soon as possible. For the best quality, place them in jars with sugar right after harvesting.

Spruce tips start losing their beneficial medicinal properties after a year, so harvest them fresh every spring for the following year.   

Some people are allergic to spruce, so we recommend testing a few spruce tips before harvesting and making the syrup.  

Avoid harvesting spruce tips along roads with heavy traffic or in heavily polluted areas. Usually, it’s best to harvest them at higher elevations. 

traditional spruce tip syrup



Spruce tip syrup can last up to two years stored in bottles or jars in a dark and cool place; however, for the best quality, make a fresh stock of spruce tip syrup every spring for the following winter.


Do not worry; no part of the spruce tree is poisonous. However, if your spruce tip syrup contains visible pieces, strain the syrup another time using a clean gauze folded in two layers.


Yes, if you like the taste, you can eat the sugary spruce tips that are left when making the syrup. You can use them as an ingredient in some recipes.


Accordingly, the recommended dosage of spruce tip syrup is not more than 30 ml of syrup daily, using three times a day one tablespoon of syrup. If the syrup is made with sugar or honey, please be extra mindful if offering it to people with diabetes and/or other health issues.


How to make helichrysum oil

How to make elderflower tea

Baobab juice

Homemade sugar-free plum jam

Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms

Wild garlic risotto

Green gnocchi with wild spinach

traditional spruce tip syrup
Print Save Pin

Spruce tip syrup

Homemade traditional spruce tips syrup recipe
Servings 2
Prep Time 40 days
Total Time 40 days


  • glass jars
  • glass bottles
  • strainer or gauze


  • 1 l spruce tips
  • 1 l sugar (or honey)


  • Fill the jars with equal layers of freshly picked spruce tips and sugar. Press down each layer with a kitchenette.
  • Close the jar tightly and clean it on the outside
  • Place the jar on a sunny place for 40 days. When the sugar melts, make sure you turn around the jars every 2 days.
  • After 40 days open the jar and strain the ingredients to get a clear syrup.
  • Fill the bottles with syrup and store in a dark and cool place.


For best quality use freshly harvested spruce tips and start making the syrup the same day. Avoid harvesting spruce tips on dirty roads, heavy traffic or heavily polluted areas. 
Try to fill the jars as densely as you can, so there will be as little as possible air in the jars.
Clean the jars when filled to avoid ants and wasps.
Every spring, harvest fresh spruce tips and make a new batch of spruce tip syrup.
Author: Food nutters
Cost: $2
Course: DIY
Cuisine: East Euroean
Keyword: remedy, spruce tips, syrup

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday. I have never heard of this before and was fascinated by the use and the simplicity. Pinned

    1. Thank you Michele, this syrup is so easy to make, and it’s much better than the cooked one. I hope it will motivate you to pick up some spruce tips when they start growing 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Amazing and very interesting, never heard of this before. Will have to have a look to see if I can find it in our area.
    I visited you via Memorial Day Craftastic Monday Link Party
    If not already part of SSPS, and are interested, find my entries: 34+35
    You will find the linkup information (1) In the Top bar under Blogging: Weekly Senior Salon Pit Stop OR 2nd image In the sidebar
    We hope to meet you there virtually.

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you Esme!

  3. 5 stars
    I wish there were a sugar-free option for this syrup recipe to cater to those with diabetes (my daughter and I both have type one diabetes.) Saved on my Pinterest board! 🙂

    1. You’re right Eugene, that’s exactly what I was thinking many times too… next spring we’ll definitely try to find a way to make it without sugar.

      1. What about doing a tincture in apple cider vinegar?

        1. Sure Rachel, that’s another great idea too. Going right on the list for next year’s spruce tip harvest 🙂

5 from 5 votes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Food nutters © Copyright 2022-2023. All rights reserved.