The spruce is an evergreen, cone-shaped conifer that reaches a height of 20–30 m. Its needles occur singly and are angular and sharply pointed.
The spruce prefers rather moist environments. It is common in most parts of Finland, except for the northernmost part of the Enontekiö region in Lapland, where it does not grow. Spruce is also cultivated.
The young, pliable, light green new shoots that emerge each year can be picked by hand from spring until the middle of summer, before they harden into needles. Spruce twigs are gathered by hand year-round. The landowner’s permission is needed to collect young shoots or twigs.
The young annual shoots can be used in food preparation. They taste faintly of conifer resin, but the flavour is mild. The new shoots can be used as a seasoning on fresh salads and bread or in soups, stews and casseroles as well as in jams, syrup and sweets. They are also suitable as a bright, attractive garnish. Older needles can also be used as tea or to prepare sima, a fermented Finnish beverage. One should keep in mind that spruce can cause allergic symptoms.