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Processed Spruce Gum

Northern Wild Foods (NWF) collects spruce gum from the Black Spruce trees (Picea mariana) in the South Slave NWT. 

The Black Spruce tree has been used for many traditional uses, including:

Spruce boughs used for tipi or tent floors;
Mouth wash from boiled cones to treat toothache and sore throat;
Rotted wood pounded in caribou hide used for baby powder and deodorant;
Spruce gum used in tea to make an excellent medicine to help with upset stomach;
Gum used in a salve to heal cuts, rashes, sores and eczema;

In order to use the Spruce Gum in different applications, the raw gum should be processed in order to remove dirt and debris.  

The best way we have found to do this, is the following process:

  1. Collect spruce gum!
  2. Place raw spruce gum in a metal sieve, and place the sieve on top of a pot which has been lined with aluminum foil.  Note that the sieve and pot should only be used for processing spruce gum as you will not be able to remove all of the gum off of your hardware when you are finished;
  3. Place the sieve and pot into the oven, and warm on low for an hour or so, until all of the spruce gum has melted into the pot.  
  4. Allow your melted spruce gum to cool and remove from the aluminum foil.  Now you have clean and processed gum for your recipes!