After harvesting, many experiences can come from a mushroom. Perhaps it is being packaged and sold wholesale, put into a till and sold directly to an eager customer, sautéed, roasted or grilled and enjoyed by you and your family, brewed into a delightful tea or even tinctured: an exciting transformation all on its own! Whatever it may be, take joy in the little things that mushrooms can offer.
Why Make a Mushroom Tincture?
Tincturing has become one of my favorite experiences with mushrooms. It is a process that requires patience, but limited skill. Tincturing is not a difficult process and the result is worth the wait. Mushrooms, when combined with alcohol, release vibrantly warm colors, each day darkening and watching the color flow brings delight to the maker. On average the whole process takes about six weeks, even longer if you are growing your own mushrooms (which, by the way, makes the process even more satisfying).
Popular Mushrooms to Tincture
Sometimes referred to as the mushroom of immortality, Reishi is most commonly used as a supplement for boosting the immune system to prevent certain viral infections. It is also being used to help with high blood pressure, heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease, and cancer just to name a few. Further research will show you that it is being used for so many more ailments. After doing some research I found that certain medicinal components of Reishi are soluble in water (i.e. by making tea), but other components are only soluble in alcohol (i.e by making a tonic) and the very best form of it would come from a double extraction tincture. With a tincture you get the best of both worlds; a liquid that ends up to be 75% water, 25% alcohol, and contains everything that is good about Reishi. Surprisingly, the tincture seems far less bitter than the tea, and is taken in relatively small doses. Therefore, is far less noticeable when added to you favorite drink.
Another mushroom ever-growing in popularity is the Lion's Mane Mushroom. This mushroom is known for the research being done on its ability to increase cognitive function, especially with memory and nerve-regeneration.
Our final favorite is Chaga. Chaga is a wild-foraged fungus found on birch trees that energizes like caffeine without the jitters.
How to Make a Mushroom Tincture
Here is the method we use for creating the tincture (several online resources were compared for what we believe to be a great recipe):
1. First, chop up a bunch of Reishi using a coffee grinder. Some of this Reishi was fresh and some was completely dried. It filled a glass gallon jar about 1/3 of the way full. You could use a food processor as well (ours just wasn't doing the trick, it kept getting jammed.).
2. Add two bottles (750ml) of 100 proof vodka. The jar ends up to be a little more than half full. Place the jar in a cool dark place and let it sit for four weeks, shaking it up every few days.
3. Using cheese cloth strain out the Reishi and place it a large stock pot (reserving the alcohol of course). The alcohol is measured and an equal amount of water is added to the stock pot (do not add the alcohol though). This amount of water must be marked somehow. Ours conveniently lined up with the bottom of a screw on the stock pot. I added a few extra cups of water and boiled it down (about an inch below my mark) I did this a total of three times, but the third time I shut off the heat when the water reached my mark.
4. Once it cooled I strained out and discarded the Reishi, added the water to the alcohol, stirred, funneled into 4 ounce dropper bottles, and labeled. Some of the discarded Reishi was added to my worm bins, and the rest went into the outdoor compost pile.