Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Post: How to Make Chaga Concentrate

An 11 pound chaga!
I ran out of chaga a while ago so I’ve been drinking tea from purchased tea bags. And then I ran out of those, too. We were on our way out of the woods after deer hunting when Steve spotted chaga on a birch tree. He stopped (as in slammed on the brakes) and cut the larger of two pieces off the tree. It weighed 11 pounds. When chaga dries it becomes difficult to break without a saw so I needed to get it into manageable chunks as soon as possible. No problem! The wood splitter was handy and in five minutes it was down to size.
It doesn’t look appealing, does it?  Chaga Mountain provides the health benefits on their website. I use their tea when I don’t have my own chaga. You can orderchaga chunks and other items on their website. Your health food store might also carry chaga. I looked at Natural Living Center in Bangor yesterday. They’re selling it for $29.95 a pound.
You can grind chaga into a crumble to make tea if you have a rugged grinder. I wouldn’t use my Magic Bullet, food processor light weight coffee grinder for the job, especially if the chaga is dry. Break it into quarter sized pieces if possible for a nice cup of tea.
I broke mine into baseball sized pieces to make concentrate. Chaga is porous and will absorb water if given enough time.
The largest piece is about the size of a baseball.
Put the chaga in the small crock pot early in the morning. Fill it with cold water, cover it, and set the heat to high. Leave it alone until the water starts to simmer. Remove the cover to let the water evaporate. The chaga will absorb water and eventually sink to the bottom. Turn the heat off before going to bed and let the chaga steep. Half or more of the water should be gone by now.
Chaga concentrate
Chaga concentrate is as dark as black coffee
Next morning, remove the chaga and pour the liquid through a strainer. You probably won’t get all of the crumbly bits out and that’s okay. They’ll settle to the bottom of the jar. I heat one quart of concentrate until just before it boils then pour it into a hot canning jar and seal it. When the lid pops and the jar cools, store it in the fridge. I pour the rest into smaller jars to use fresh, storing it in the fridge.
If you don’t have enough chaga to make concentrate you can steep it for tea. Taste test as you go to determine the strength you like. You can use your pieces more than once!
I add one tablespoon to my coffee and tea and usually consume two or three tablespoons per day minimum. More is fine. It might take up to three months to help build your immune system. You should notice by the end of three months that you don’t catch every virus going around.

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