Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!

Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!
Deep in the Lair of the Perpetually Curious Fox

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Chewing spruce (Picea glauca) gum

I read some years ago that hardened spruce and pine resin makes good chewing gum and I decided to check it out for myself.

There's a great youtube video that shows you how to process your own spruce chewing gum, but I like just picking hardened resin off spruce trees in the backyard.

Video link to how to make spruce chewing gum by Countercommie at youtube

I'd say it tastes really strong at first. The hardened resin just crumbles into tiny granules as you crunch on it. But hold it in your mouth for a few seconds, and let the heat from your mouth soften it. After it has soften, chew it slowly and gather it around in your mouth with your tongue. It'll start to have the texture of a stiff, listerine flavoured, chewing gum.

At first I found it a bit bitter, but it's kind of an acquired taste. After 2-3 tries, I actually start to like the flavour - make me think of breathing in a fresh tree scent like you are in the woods. Plus, I notice that my mouth ulcers heals faster (spruce resin is a natural antiseptic, so it makes sense). I have coeliac disease and I get mouth ulcers often from accidental wheat ingestions, and spruce chewing gum tastes so much nicer than the mouth ulcer gels I used.

I look for naturally occuring hardened resin on the trunk of spruce trees, where the trees have previously been injured (pruning, cold, woodpecker, wind damage). The older the resin the darker the colour, and the richer the flavour (I find). Older resin also makes less stiff chewing gum. Not so old resin, light yellow, for example is still chewable, but much stiffer.

Most of the time I can just break the pieces off with my fingernails. Some people use a putty knife to get bigger pieces, but I'd like to think that I can leave the bigger pieces to age more, and harvest it as it becomes more brittle.

this is enough for a nice chew or two! Amber coloured. Smelling very sprucey!

After chewing for 3-4 minutes. You can't tell the difference between it
and a commercial chewing gum except for it's smell.
In case you're not too keen to eat resin straight from the tree, you can also buy it online. Just google "Spruce Chewing Gum" and you'll find links to people who wild craft these tasty, sugarfree, (Ulcer curing!) chewing gum.

Of course, the next thing to try is making spruce needle tea. You can read more about it here. I've chewed birch shoots before and it tastes very wintergreeney. I would imagine it'll make really nice tea. Must remember to try in spring.

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