During a resent visit with Canadian Outdoors Equipment Co., co-owner Tim handed me a piece of all natural Spruce chewing gum to give a try and see how I liked it. From Maine, these little nuggets of fragrant crystals come nestled in nice small wooden boxes instead of wrappers or paper. Chewing Spruce gum dates back to the early 1800’s. American Indians would chew it, as well as make syrup for sore throats and other medicines from it. In 1848 John B. Curtis developed and sold the first commercial chewing gum called "The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum". Slowly moving out of fad with paraffin wax gums and the chicle type gums of the late 17th century. The technique to chew is something just as unique as the gum.
“Put the lump of gum in your mouth (it doesn't look very appealing at this stage--don't worry, it's antiseptic and 100% safe) and break it up into a granular and strong-tasting substance. At this stage it is somewhat distasteful but resist the temptation to spit it out. In this granular form it will merge with saliva and be warmed by your mouth. Keep chewing for about four minutes without spitting. You will notice that it becomes less granular as you chew. When you have a sizable lump which holds together, then spit out the juice and the impurities, which separated out, and keep chewing. You will spit out another 4 times before it is purified and great! After this period, take it out and look at it. It will have a beautiful colour and taste great. It will now be good for about 30 minutes of terrific chewing”
It was quite refreshing, giving your mouth that forest fresh feeling. The clarified resin actually takes on the consistency of the commercial gum we are so used to. After chewing it for a while you can feel the antiseptic tingling on your tongue!! I can see why at one time was all the rage. A lot of people still prefer this type of gum, though harder to find its well worth it. One Old Timer said “Spruce gum is the distillation of rainbows and sunsets, of hurricanes and sunshine, of hard winter and puissant spring...”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. If your looking to get your hands on a piece or two contact Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co., or swing by there store in Port Credit, Ont.