For the last few weeks, the spruce tip ice cream has been one of our best sellers. "It's the most unique ice cream I've had in my life," said Emily, a visiting friend from California.
"It tastes like if I walked through a forest and just breathed in the air really deeply," another taster told us.
In some ways, this flavor seems like it should be a wintertime special: it evokes those evergreen flavors we associate with the holidays. Some tasters said it reminded them of Christmas. And yet, spruce tips also have an intriguing citrusy, floral, herbal undertone that makes them great in the spring.
There's a narrow window each year where spruce trees go through new growth, adding fresh green "tips" to their boughs. That's the time to collect them, for use in syrups, cookies, seasoned salt, pasta, jelly...and ice cream! We have a bunch of spruce trees right in our yard, and we were able to collect some young tips before the window closed and the tips darkened (at this point, the flavor isn't as great).
For our ice cream, we infuse a cream mix with the young needles, mottle them up to release the flavor, and then strain most of it out.
We'll have this flavor on and off until our supplies run out. Try it while you can!