Spruce It Up: Use needles right off your tree to make syrup!
Good cooks never let anything go to waste -- even Christmas trees. Make pine-flavored syrup with needles right off your tree. Spruce or Douglas fir needles work best (avoid adding preservation chemicals to the tree-stand water). Rinse 1 cup needles, then finely chop in a food processor. Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons corn syrup and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan, whisking, then boil 1 minute without stirring. Remove from the heat, add the needles and steep 2 to 3 hours. Strain the syrup and refrigerate up to a month. It tastes great in cocktails!