Pickled spruce buds with rowan flowers

We have a 16 year old spruce in our garden, it was planted there by the previous owners. It’s a very happy tree, about 15 meters tall. At Christmas it provides us with decorative branches and in spring we watch it grow and sprout new buds and branches over night. It’s the happiest tree I have ever known. The squirrels feed on its cones and we try to come up with new delicious things to make with the tender buds every ear. Today I have been pickling some for the first time.

The roads where we live are lined with rowan trees and I like to make rowan jelly with the berries in autumn but I have never made anything with the blossoms before. I will make some schnapps with the blossoms for Swedish midsummer but today I put the flowers with the pickled spruce buds.

I mixed vinegar and water to taste, added salt, sugar, pepper corns, dill seeds and brought to a light boil just to dissolve the salt and sugar. I let it cool down before poring it over the buds and flowers not to destroy the Vitamin C. In a couple of months the budswill be pickled and ready to eat with meats and cheeses. Can’t wait!

The nutritional benefits of spruce needles are impressive. High with Vitamin C and some minerals like potassium and magnesium.  It’s high in chlorophyll, which can help to heal tissue and to transport oxygen to cells. It is said to speed up wound healing and bond with poisonous metals present in your body to carry them out. It can also be good for the respiratory system to relive coughs and colds. It was used to make beer to take on long sea voyages to prevent scurvy and was the main vitamin C source for many indigenous people of the north.

I just like using and making the most of something wild growing in our garden.


  • baby spruce shoots
  • rowan berry flowers (optional)
  • a good quality vinegar
  • water
  • sea salt and black pepper corns
  • dill seeds

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