I ❤ tinctures!
Chaga double extraction
I have been so busy making Chaga tincture! It took me all month to make it!
Okay… I’m not that ‘busy’ making this stuff! The actuality is – it sits in the cabinet all month in some alcohol, extracting itself! It’s fairly low-maintenance for such and awesome product. I just give it a shake every time I see it… or every couple of days (which ever comes first). Ya, not difficult – just time consuming. Patience… will pay off.
The day has arrived for me to do the second round of extracting, it’s been a good 4 weeks. The simmering in water part of the recipe is part 2. Another project you can put on the stove and tend to occasionally. Making sure I don’t evaporate all the water though (that would be bad). So, don’t set it on the stove and leave to run errands. Maybe just some chores around the house while the liquid simmers into dark ‘gold’.
I am a huge fan of tinctures and extractions. And being able to make my own is something I enjoy. I can source my product/plant to my specs… either purchasing or growing my own. There is some control in what you end up with when you make your own. This is true for most things I suppose. Control and quality from start to finish means you know what’s in it; and keeping out all the things you don’t want (in it). Not to mention, it is a money saver. I’ve seen Chaga tincture from $35 to 55 and upwards. I know it’s a time-thing or even a desire-thing for most people; convenience in just buying it. To me, it really is something I can do at home and I want to. So, I usually give it a go.
There is some satisfaction in completing a customized unique product. Made by you and for you (or sharing)! With, of course the help of Mother Nature! She is the plant provider after all!
I am no stranger to having random tinctures and extracts going at any given time. Some are quick and some take months+. I have a cupboard, that if you open it – it looks like all kinds of various bottles and jars of this-and-that’s. But those are my little lovelies – just ‘brewing’ or more like extracting away! 🙂
Back to the Chaga.
What is Chaga? It is an awesome mushroom that grows on the Birch trees in mostly northern climates. Black and crusty-looking on the outside with an orange-hue/color on the inside. Colors can vary – just like any and all mushrooms; and sizes can get really large for these things!
They are loaded with nutrients including vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Great liver tonic, diabetes buster and cancer fighter. The list is huge for the things this mushroom can do and I encourage you to go dig around on the internet for more in-depth info.
I love Chaga and have been drinking it as tea for a while. I also like to make half and half… half chaga tea and half coffee. Yum! 🙂 But I have really been wanting some tincture in my possession for times when I want to splash a few drops into something and then consume! An ‘ease’ thing, I guess. Convenience and versatility sound good too!
I have some wild crafted/harvested, Chaga. As I have mentioned – I have been predominantly using it for making my tea concentrate. Time to quit thinking about making tincture – and just do it already! I bought mine in the chunk formation. If you aren’t out there harvesting your own (some day… some day!) you can purchase some from hopefully someone who harvests consciously, ethically, and treats all the Chaga with appreciation: from harvest to packaging. Look for wild crafted and local (or within your region/country). I know not everyone has access to this beauty, so, shop wisely.
Chunks give me the availability to use as is or to more easily break them down or even turn them into powder. Full pieces or the larger stuff, I find too big. The powder, well… you can’t go anywhere… but powder. The ability to make a few adjustments when starting out with chunks just seems right, for me. Versatility.
Anyway, a few chunks along with some chiseled off smaller pieces went into a jelly jar. I then covered these with good ole tried and true: Everclear 190 proof. I have read many suggestions that you can also use a lower proof Everclear as well as the standard Vodka. Whatever you like, as long as it’s a clear, clean, distilled spirit. Your finished results will be in correlation to the intensity of your alcohol used to extract. I know there are extraction methods without using alcohol but I don’t mind doing them this way.
The first extraction method is letting it sit in alcohol. Cover the Chaga completely with the alcohol, mine ended up being over half way up the jar. I think using your discretion here is good. You could fill it all the way up if you want! Then label it with the date and put it somewhere where you will not forget about it! Shaking it every day (at least for that first week) is best. Getting to it every other day, also okay. This goes on for 4 weeks, a month, or really close to that time frame. When the time is up – it’s time for the second extraction.
Second extraction: strain the Chaga from the alcohol. Set your freshly made Chaga-alcohol extract aside while you put those Chaga pieces into a pot on the stove with about 2 cups of water. Because I like the purity aspect of a tincture – I used distilled water in my extraction. I started out with a cup of water but it dissipated fairly quickly and found myself adding another cup. Start with 2. Also, keep an eye on this as you might have to add more water if it is cooking off and down to nothing. Simmer this on the stove for at least 2 hours. A nice methodical simmer as it reduces down and the water gets nice n’ dark. Resist the rolling boil! You are cooking this down and trying to reach the approximate (same) amount as what you have in volume for the alcohol portion of your tincture/extract.
I ended up with approximately 1/3 cup of the alcohol extracted portion. I simmered and reduced the water extraction to approximately the same amount. They were really close! The 2 hour or 2 ½ hour time frame was where I ended up. After that, I just turned off the burner and let it completely cool there. A nice looking dark brown Chaga water. Yay! 🙂
I strained this after it cooled, through a coffee filter over a fine mesh strainer. I then ran the alcohol portion also through the strainer. Blending them together, I then topped this tincture blend off with some more distilled water to fill up the rest of the jelly jar. Give it a lovely shake, label this jar, and she is now complete. Storing in a dark glass, brown glass is always good. Storing away from sunlight, also good. I will keep this in the ‘master’ jar and will continue re-filling a little brown tincture bottle that has a dropper.
So, why do we extract the mushroom twice? To get all the goodness it provides you need to get-at-it with more than one method. At least, through the home-made tincture making. The properties are deep inside the protective chitin (fibers). Just too difficult (maybe impossible?) for the digestive system to get to. Extracting them from the mushroom makes them more available for the body. There are properties within the mushroom that are water soluble and some that are alcohol soluble; you want them all! Polysaccharides, beta-glucans and triterpenes – those wonderful health and healing properties for immune strength, anti-cancer, and over-all vitality.
I really do love this stuff! And I gotta admit, I am pretty stoked that I now have it in another form/variation! 🙂 ❤
Stove top – simmering going on in the pot. The small jar contains the alcohol extract. Then after the cooling process, through the filtering ‘system’ in goes. Then both – alcohol extract and water extract get mixed/blended together and stored in a dark glass jar.