Green alder, also known as crisp alder, is an unparalleled spice from the Quebec region.
The Different Uses of Green Alder
Still little known to the general public, Quebec spices are slowly starting to stand out. Indeed, they slowly make their way, from the boreal forest to our plate. Chefs love to use it in fine cuisine. It is an extremely versatile local ingredient that can be used in multiple contexts. It is therefore the ideal spice to introduce you to the products of the boreal forest if you have never experienced them!
1. Green Alder To Season And Enhance
Green alder is a must to season perfectly your meats, broths and coulis. Also, it goes well with seafood, white sauces and cheese dishes. It is in a way a “fancy mat” spice that adds its distinctive touch wherever you dare to introduce it! Green alder has notes of lemon, fir, pepper and is above all very aromatic in its own way. It may contain some bitterness, which tends to come out especially if simmering at high heat for a long period of time. It has similarities to long pepper, can also replace black or pink pepper, and be added to many spice blends.
It is a good addition to dishes made with wild meats, such as a game, whether braised or marinated for hours. Just grind the pepper, add it to your favorite spice blend and let stand for several hours in the fridge.
This boreal ingredient is an excellent replacement for regular pepper. Wherever you usually put it, it will also go! Important to note, it is very concentrated in forest resin. To reduce the risk of erasing the mechanism of your pepper mill, it is possible to grind it with a mortar. Personally, I use a standard pepper shaker, then mix the alder pepper with black pepper, half and half. Their tastes together are also very interesting, they complement each other wonderfully. This mix is very simple to make and easy to incorporate into all your meals quickly.
As for the broths, if you like more intense flavors you can mix them with the other ingredients from the start. Otherwise, it is recommended to incorporate it shortly before the end of cooking. Many also add it to more common dishes, such as in spaghetti sauce, ratatouille, slow cooker recipes, or in the famous tourtière.
It can also be used in vinegar, legume, and citrus salads. For even more Quebec flavors, also add maple syrup: it’s divine!
2. Green Alder In Your Coffee
You read that correctly, yes it is possible to drink green alder, but not dry, I assure you! It can be consumed in your coffee. For a more than the surprising result, add some green alder with your black coffee beans, then grind them together in a coffee grinder. The smell is not particularly different than usual, since the scent of green alder is lost a bit in that of coffee, but it tastes like heaven! We find there the sapine side which offers a simply perfect and pleasant finish in the mouth. It is a nice local alternative for lovers of coffee with cardamom or spices. You can also add hot milk to it without any problem. It can also serve as a cinnamon substitute on your classic cappuccino!
3. An Unusual Infusion
Obviously, you can put it in your herbal tea blends! This is exactly what we did with the PilKi Aronia & Alder infusion. Indeed, green alder is exactly the same ingredient!
In addition to having a good taste, this ingredient provides many health benefits. It has been used in particular to reduce fever, stop bleeding, and reduce intestinal gas. In addition, green alder has astringent and tonic properties, which thus promotes the feeling of well-being and vigor in people who consume it.
However, like many medicinal ingredients, it is considered to be potentially abortive. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume it during the first trimester of pregnancy in order to avoid any complications. No studies confirm this effect, but prevention is better than cure!
4. Green Alder Perfect For Sweet Teeth
While green alder pairs particularly well with savory dishes, it also gives an unparalleled touch to desserts. Fans with a sweet tooth will be delighted! For example, green alder can give an amazing flavor, both peppery and fragrant, to desserts like chocolate pies. Plus, it’s a great match with strawberries, raspberries, cream desserts, and pastries.
5. Creative for DIY
With the confinement, many have started various projects to while away the time at home. For some it’s bread, horticulture, redecorating the living room, doing renovations, knitting, etc. Forest ingredients have contributed to the development of several original activities. For example, start brewing craft beer and season vodka to make a personalized gin, all with green alder and more.
For others, it is the maceration of medicinal plants and the development of perfumed oils. Luckily, alder pepper is one of those wonderful spices that can go wonderfully in an oil blend with various herbs. For an oily maceration, the goal is to collect and preserve the active principles of the plants or the ingredients to make creams. It is also possible to apply it directly to the skin that you want to soothe, invigorate, or heal. The lemony and slightly sapin scent that emerges makes it a favorite ingredient!