Spruce Tip and Sorrel Kosho

spruce tip and sorrel kosho
spruce tips
spruce tip kosho

Traditionally a Japanese ferment made with the zest of yuzu mixed with fiery green chillies. Yuzu is generally a little trickier for us to get hold of, not to mention the cost. Utilising the resinous citrussy tones of young spruce tips mixed with the pep and acidity of common or wood sorrel makes for a pretty interesting hyperlocal alternative!

Kosho is usually used as a condiment to dab on sashimi or cured Chalkstream trout. It cuts brilliantly through the richness of fattier cuts of meat. It’s beautiful with crayfish or even a little smattering over fried eggs! Mixed through a little shoyu for a dipping sauce, its application is almost endless.

You can use either wood or common sorrel in this recipe, both will add a delightful tang and acidity to the finished kosho. The spruce tips could be swapped for some young fir tips or even pine. But please do make sure that you know what you are picking as the last thing you want to do is use yew as it is poisonous! The tips of different species of spruce, fir or pine will all have a different aroma, so find the one which you prefer and experiment. Lastly, make sure you are only picking young tips as the older they get the more fibrous they will become making the mouth feel slightly unpleasant.

Making our spruce tip and sorrel kosho couldn’t be simpler. It really is just a case of finely chopping all of your ingredients almost to a paste and then stirring through the salt. At this point the kosho will be quite punchy depending on the heat of your chillies, but this will mellow with time as it ferments in the fridge slowly for up to three months. 


265g jar

100g green chillies
100g young spruce tips
40g common or wood sorrel leaves
25g salt



Pick the needles from the spruce tips and chop as finely as possible. Place into a pestle and mortar and bash until it starts to get a little pasty.


Remove the seeds from the chillies if you wish and finely chop. Add into the needles and bash together. Finely slice the sorrel and stir through the needles along with the salt. 


We vacuum sealed ours but you could pack the spruce and sorrel kosho into scrupulously clean jars and place into the fridge for up to 3 months. Leave the spruce tip and sorrel kosho for at least a week so that it has a chance to start fermenting and mellow out a little.

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Things to Note

If in doubt, leave it out. Please make sure you 100% sure of what you are picking. Some fir trees look very similar to yew, which is poisonous.

Make sure you are only picking young tips as the older they get the more fibrous they will become making the mouth feel slightly unpleasant.

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