Balsam fir buds (or shoots) are used to flavour fermented beverages such as kombucha, kefir, or herbal wines, or simply enjoyed in herbal tea or syrups.
Balsam fir (Abies balsamea) is very common in Canada and was widely used by the First Nations for its many medicinal virtues.
Indeed, its very high vitamin C content made it an excellent antiscorbutic. It is also used to treat colds, coughs, and fevers, among others.
Balsam fir tree buds have a distinctive, delicate sweet taste and are ideal for cold infusions.
You can also use them in hot infusions to extract more essential oils. A cup of balsam fir tea will take you right back to Christmas-time!
To flavour your kombucha, add the balsam fir buds (4 tbsp/litre) during your second fermentation, after removing the SCOBY. Leave to infuse in a cool place for 24 hours, then filter and bottle.
To flavour your water kefir, add 4 tbsp. of fir buds to 1 cup of boiling water and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. Add to 1L of already fermented kefir.
Try the fir tree buds in our Christmas tree kombucha recipe!
Learn more about flavouring fermented beverages with wild plants.