Nettle tops, spruce tips, and fresh lime juice pair wonderfully with creamy coconut milk for the most refreshing popsicles. Coated in a dark chocolate shell, these popsicles are a wonderful way to celebrate spring and enjoy the flavors of the forest.
These popsicles combine nettles and spruce tips, two wild foods that can be foraged in spring. With a crunchy chocolate shell and melt-in-your-mouth cold creamy center, these popsicles are so refreshing on a hot spring day.
Nettles have an earthy, mineral taste that can be a bit strong in desserts. However, paired with the lemony pine flavors of spruce, the flavor is just incredible! These popsicles are dairy-free and so fun to make.
Nettles and spruce tips give the popsicles a vibrant green color while sea salt and fresh lime juice balance the flavors. A tablespoon of spruce tip syrup adds sweetness and lemon and pine flavors, and the chocolate shell just takes it to the next level!
Tips For Harvesting Nettle
Nettles are one of my favorite wild plants to forage in spring. They can be harvested from the time the young leaves emerge from the ground in spring until fall after the flowers have gone to seed. Harvest the young leaves and tips, using gloves to protect your hands from their sting!
Nettles are a nutrient-dense wild food that is a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and have the capacity to support and heal the body from head to toe. Nettles typically grow from early spring to fall and produce heart-shaped leaves with yellow or pink flowers. Most of the benefits come from the leaves and stems, but the roots have healing properties too.
Nettles have a long history of use as a healing herb for their potent medicinal benefits. They have anti-tumor properties, are anti-inflammatory, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, relieve allergic rhinitis, arthritis, rheumatism, and diabetes, and can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Nature’s multi-vitamin!
Their sting can be neutralized by blanching them in boiling water for 30 secs, then immediately placing in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Then you can handle them without getting stung!
Tips For Harvesting Spruce Tips
Spruce tips are the new needles that grow at the tip of spruce tree branches. Harvest them while they are bright green and still tender, but before they harden into mature spruce needles. Only harvest a few tips from each branch, since this is how the tree grows. I never pick the tops of the trees either, to avoid damaging the tree’s future growth!
Spruce tips are bursting with flavor and can be foraged in springtime when the tips of conifer branches are bright green and tender. They are a wonderful source of vitamin C and have lemon and pine flavors. Spruce tips are also rich in chlorophyll, an excellent nutrient for regenerating tissue and scavenging free radicals.
While spruce tips are my favorite flavor, you can harvest conifer tips from any edible conifer tree. Avoid hemlock trees, which are toxic. I mostly harvest from white fir, douglas fir, and spruce trees when foraging conifer tips for recipes.
How To Make Nettle And Spruce Tip Popsicles
First, make the popsicles
Add the coconut milk, spruce tips, a handful of blanched nettles, lime juice, salt, and spruce tip syrup to a blender. Blend until creamy. Then taste and add more sweetener or lime juice if needed. For sweetness and flavor, I used spruce tip syrup. Start with 1 tablespoon, then add more if needed. Substitute maple syrup or honey if you don’t have spruce tip syrup.
A little goes a long way with spruce tips, as their flavor is very potent! I only added 10-15 tips to one can of coconut milk. Spruce tips can be a bit gritty when blended, so you don’t want to add too much. Strain the mixture with a fine sieve to help filter out the little bits of spruce tips. I double strained mine and that did a great job at removing the little bits of spruce tips.
Make the chocolate glaze
The chocolate glaze is made by melting dark chocolate chips with coconut oil in a double boiler. Melt in a small jar that is wide enough to dip a popsicle into. Or use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over the popsicles.
Add toppings and enjoy
Have the toppings ready because the chocolate shell begins to harden quickly. Apply the toppings immediately after dipping in chocolate. Then, place the popsicle on a parchment paper covered plate and return to the freezer or enjoy right away!
Have you ever made spruce tip popsicles? Tell me all about it!
- 1 can (400 mL) regular coconut milk
- 1 small handful fresh spruce tips
- 40 g blanched nettles (1 small handful fresh)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) lime juice
- 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) spruce tip syrup
- 1 cup (6 oz.) dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut oil
- Optional: toppings of choice to decorate popsicles with (shredded coconut, sea salt, nettle seeds, etc.)
- Pour coconut milk, spruce tips, lime juice, nettles, salt, and 1 tablespoon spruce tip syrup in a blender. Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes until the spruce tips and nettles are completely smooth. Add 1 more tablespoon spruce tip syrup if desired for a stronger spruce flavor. Blend to incorporate.
- Strain the mixture with a fine sieve twice to capture any little particles left from the spruce tips.
- Pour into popsicle molds, and freeze until completely solid or at least 4-6 hours.
- For the chocolate shell: place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler and melt until liquid. Pour the chocolate shell into a small jar that will fit the popsicles, or use a spoon to drip chocolate on the popsicles. Have toppings ready to apply because the chocolate sets rapidly!
- Remove one popsicle at a time, and dip into the chocolate shell and back out in a smooth motion. Decorate the popsicle with toppings immediately and place popsicle on a plate with parchment paper.
- Return the popsicles to the freezer or enjoy immediately.
Substitute maple syrup or honey for spruce tip syrup if you don't have any.
Start with a very small handful of spruce tips - no more than 10-15. A little goes a long way with these flavorful tips.