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Pitch gum-spruce, larch, lodgepole, douglas  RSS feed

 
Olenka Kleban
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Location: Ontario
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The elementary rudiments are thus:

Taking a piece of very aged, hard and dark brown pitch from the trunk of conifer (secreted years before) yields a very tasty, refreshing, breath freshening and WILD chaw.

The light coloured, immature soft stuff is no good. Flavours are horrendously pungent and the texture is more waxy resin than gum. Not only that, it embeds in your molars easily and you're stuck with the powerful aroma in your mouth for many hours. Cue the sap's appetite-suppressing capabilities when you think about sitting down to another taste.

You want the stuff that's a solid little stone (even in warm temps) and almost requires a putty knife for removal from the tree. Some folks heat it up and run it through a screen/sieve to get the lumps of bark and dirt out. Be certain-the only use for the heating and filtration process is for comfort in the first several bites. I have thus far dispensed with that step and eaten the stuff off the tree, bark and all.

Once you begin to masticate the little crystal, it will shatter into a strange mouthful of dry crystals. Be prepared for about 30-60 seconds of dry/dusty sensation before it gets gummy. Collect the shards of resin back together in your mouth, spit out the dust and bark that might remain, and chew on.
This is what I've gleaned thus farm from reading and exploring 'round the lab. I'm hooked on the stuff; it's delectable. Fir and larch are especially tasty; spruce is reputed to be the best, though I've not spotted any just yet. Give it a little time-the stuff turns sweetish and debris-free in a minute or 3.

I'm sure this is common practice with Rocky Mountain wildcrafters-any pointers?
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A fine specimen
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Happy chaw-lass
 
Ken Peavey
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Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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Growing up in Maine we could get spruce gum anywhere in the woods, and there's a LOT of woods up there. I can still taste it.
The stuff needs to be hard. The harder the better. You don't need much-the flavor is STRONG. If it's not hard you'll spit it right out and you mouth will taste like a pinecone forest the rest of the day. It takes a few chews to crunch it up and the flavor can be overpowering. It'll make you drool for sure. If you can get through that first minute it becomes more gum-like. You can chew it, suck on it, stick twigs together. Try not to get it on your clothes, regular detergent won't get it out. Mineral spirits/turpentine gets it out-it comes from trees.
The kids like to try it out.

 
Ken Peavey
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Looking at that link above, the spruce gum price is $152 per pound!
Opportunity is all around.
 
Ken Peavey
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