Fresh, green pine cones make flavorful, seasonal syrup to drizzle on your favorite desserts or breakfast dishes. The Pine tree blooms in mid May. After their pollination, from earliest time Albanians used to gather up the tiny buds or “gems” offered up by the trees to make a special syrup.

Tucked into glass bottles and left to brown in the sun for several months, the buds release a liquid of concentrated pine perfume. After filter it, you have to combine it with sugar and cook it down over a slow fire until it becomes a rich, sweet syrup.

The incredible labor required to produce a small bottle of pine syrup is astonishing. Even more astonishing is the flavor-it has layers of savory and sweet.

In a more restrained but still enthusiastic way you can use it as a glaze for roasted meats. Try drizzling it on goat cheese or over a panna cotta. Consider the way that pine resembles other resinous flavors like rosemary or mint and take it to the same places: try sweetening iced berry tea with it, or drizzling it on a lemon sorbet. Savor a few drops and discover exactly where the wild things are.

Pine Cone Syrup Recipe

Ingredients:
• 1 cup organic brown sugar
• 1 cup water
• 4 piñon cones, broken apart

Instructions:
1. Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan just until it boils. Remove from the heat. Stir the cones into the syrup and allow to steep for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and discard the cones. Bottle the syrup, and seal. Store the bottles in a refrigerator. For long-term shelf storage, ladle the hot syrup into three prepared 4 ounce jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Note: Remove the pine pitch from your hands by rubbing them with olive oil./AgroWeb.org