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The Benefits of Eating Spruce Tips

Indigenous communities have eaten spruce and pine needles for centuries because of their health benefits. In many Indigenous cultures, both spruce and pine needles are thought to relieve coughs and sore throats.

Often overlooked, the tips of coniferous tress are healthy and nutritious. They are packed with vitamin C. Did you know, Indigenous communities have eaten spruce and pine needles for centuries because of their health benefits? In many Indigenous cultures, both spruce and pine needles are thought to relieve coughs and sore throats (I recognize the contributions of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples have made in shaping and strengthening our country as a whole).


All spruce species have a different, yet palatable flavour, but you may like the taste of one over the other. Along with tons of vitamin C, spruce tips are also filled with magnesium and potassium, and help mineral absorption of other foods! They also have lots of carotenoids - known to provide antioxidants to the body. Spruce needles feature chlorophyll - thought to remove free radicals from the body and help the cells to get oxygen.


Like I mentioned in the my last article - Algae and "Blue Foods" – Food of the Future? - as our resources dwindle and more and more people inhabit the earth, it is important to look for alternative food sources, and spruce tips are a great option due to their various health benefits and easy accessibility.


Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef notes that White Spruce (Picea glauca), Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), and Norway Spruce (Picea abies) have the best tasting needles.


Tips for foraging Spruce Tips (According to Alan Bergo): -Always pick 20% or less from any one tree to help tree health -Always pick tips from mature trees to allow adequate growth on young trees

-Never pick tips from the top of a young tree, as that stunts its growth

Look for young, fresh growth (buds) near the bottom of the tree (a bit higher if you have a ladder), with their husks already shed (if the husks are still on, you can peel them off by hand). These tips are typically bright green.


Spruce tips can be made into syrup, jam, eaten steamed, sprinkled into rice dishes, and much more! Experiment with different recipes and enjoy the many benefits spruce tips have to offer.

*note: always contact your doctor before adding new foods to your diet. This article is for entertainment purposes only. Check your local foraging laws before foraging any foods.

Krista Hannesen

Co-Founder & Editor in Chief - A Beautiful Life Magazine Author of The Healer's Guide & Become an Online Coach for the Mind, Body, Spirit Professional

English Major at York University in Toronto, Ontario Krista is a lifestyle writer with interests in the human condition, women's issues, culture, holistic living and finding the beauty in everyday life.

Instagram: @kristahannesen



Photo: Yoksel Zok

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