The good thing about picking pine tops is you will have two products in the end. Here’s our next tutorial on how to make homemade pine syrup and pine schnapps. Pine syrup is known for its beneficial properties for all bronchial infections, colds, coughing, etc. (take 1 spoonful three times per day or mix in warm tea) and is used also for many other conditions (rheumatic conditions, strengthening immune system, …). It is easy to make and to store – just don’t forget about it when you have a cold!
What you need:
– pine tops
– white sugar (you can try using brown sugar or honey too)
– clean glass jars/bottles with tops
– gauze, slip, or other clean fabric for filtering
– schnapps (mixed or made from single fruits)
1. Pick pine tops when they are still small and of bright green colour. The best time for picking them is spring – we usually pick them in early May), but it also depends on the location of the pine trees you want to harvest. While picking pine tops, make sure you put them in a clean bowl – you don’t need to wash them.
2. Prepare the jars and tops – they should be clean and dry. First, pour a finger-width of sugar into the jar. Continue with a layer of pine tops, press them down, and repeat the steps up to the top of the jar. Finish with a layer of sugar, which should cover the pine tops. Close the jar tightly and place in a sunny spot.
Hint: If you want to keep the green colour of the pine, cover your jars with black plastic or place in a dark bucket. Otherwise they will become a dirty-green or brown colour and won’t look that nice when making schnapps 🙂
3. There are a few things you should be careful about when making syrup: when the sugar starts to melt, your layers will ‘drop’. It is best to have completely full jars – you don’t want air inside that will make the syrup go bad, so add more layers or calculate if you can use one of the jars to fill the others. Check the jars regularly in the first weeks.
4. The longer you leave the jars, the more essential oils your syrup will have. We’ve kept some of ours for more than a year and it is delicious, rich in taste, and healthy! If you can not wait that long, leave the jars until the sugar is melted or at least 40 days. If there are some lumps of sugar still on top or bottom, don’t worry, just remove them before you start to filter.
5. Filter the pine syrup through fabric or a thin sip. Prepare glass jars or small bottles for storing your freshly made syrup. It will take some time because syrup is not very fluid. Leave your jars upside down for as long as needed – don’t waste those precious oils! You can label the syrup jars/bottles and store in a cool and dark place.
6. When your syrup is filtered and stored, you are left with sticky-sugary pine tops. Again, prepare some clean bottles or jars, fill them with pine tops, and add schnapps – it should cover your pine completely. We’ve been using schnapps made from mixed fruits. Cover them well.
7. The idea of making pine schnapps is to get as much taste out of the pines as possible, so the more pine tops you put inside, the stronger the taste will be. Same goes for time (we left one standing for a few years and resulting schnapps was of green colour and rich in taste – everybody loved it!).
Tip: all alcoholic mixes taste better if you leave them to ‘settle’. The longer you leave them, the better they become. Don’t hurry the process. Make more and see what time does – as a test. Don’t forget to mark them with labels, so you’ll know which one is which.
8. Gift ideas: pine syrup and pine schnapps can be a nice little gift, especially in winter time. If you decided in the beginning to cover your jars with a dark bucket or plastic, then you will have nice green pine tops which you can leave in the bottles.
* Thank you Tara for checking our english text!