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Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii

Abundant here in Battle Ground & throughout the Pacific Northwest, Douglas Fir was used historically to treat a variety of conditions including wounds, rheumatic joints & cold symptoms. The young buds, shoots & needles are very high in Vitamin C & make a wonderful tea.

I have used Douglas Fir needles to make infused honeys & oils, but my two favorite recipes are Douglas Fir Chai & Yule Liqueur.

Fresh needles from fallen branches collected right after a storm can be used for both recipes, but young tips harvested in the spring can also be used for Chai. Rinse off freshly gathered branches & tips well then pat dry with a towel. Strip the needles off the branches; small tips can be left whole.

Douglas Fir Chai
In a small pot add:

1 cup Douglas Fir needles (buds & tips can also be used)
3 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice powder
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods-coarsely ground
3-4 whole black (or pink or white) peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups of water

Slowly heat the ingredients to a low boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover & simmer for several hours. Strain into mugs & sweeten with a little honey. Add milk or cream, as desired.
   
Yule Liqueur
The first time I made Yule Liqueur, I was a bit apprehensive when it came time to tasting it. However, I was amazed at the flavor. It was interesting to watch the color change over time, with the final product having a lovely reddish hue-perfect for Yule celebrations.

1½ cups Douglas Fir tree needles (gathered in the winter)-coarsely chopped
3 cups Vodka 50% alcohol/100 proof
¾ cup organic sugar

Place the needles in a Mason jar & add the Vodka making certain the needles are covered. Add more Vodka, if needed. Let steep for 1 week.

After 1 week, place the contents into a blender. Blend until the needles are finely minced. Strain twice: once through a colander to remove the larger pieces of plant material & a second time through an unbleached paper coffee filter to remove the finer sediment.

Put the strained liquid back into the jar, add the sugar & cover with the lid. Shake well until the sugar is fully dissolved. Place the contents in a fancy bottle with a tight fitting cap & label.

Allow the liqueur to age in a cool, dark cupboard until the following year at Yule. The flavor will mellow with age.

   
This information is offered for educational purposes and is not intended to take the place of personalized medical care from a trained healthcare professional. The reader assumes all risk when utilizing the above information.

Copyright© 2015 Louise Harmon
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