Directions For Alcohol Tinctures Using Fresh Herbs

Use a glass jar with a well-fitting lid and pack it tightly with fresh herbs of choice. Pour 80-100 proof liquor such as vodka or brandy over the herbs and let it filter down through them. Keep pouring in liquor until the herbs are completely covered by the menstrum, then cap jar tightly. Label the jar with the date and contents, and keep it in a dark place, such as a cupboard, away from direct light or heat. Let the herbs steep in the liquid for a minimum of 3 weeks.

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(I like to let my tinctures steep for 6 weeks or longer. ) After steeping, strain the tincture by placing a strainer lined with a thin cloth over a bowl ard pour the entire contents of the jar into the cloth-lined strainer. Ow the liquid to seep into the bowl, then gather the ends of the cloth together and squeeze out any remaining liquid. The more you squeeze or press, the more tincture you end up with. Note that the tincture can also be stored unstrained until needed.

The fresh herb tincture procedure uses approximately 1 part fresh herb by weight to 2 parts menstrum by liquid measure. This herb-to-menstrum ratio will vary depending on how tightly you pack the jar with herb and how much water the herb you are tincturing contains. Obviously the more tightly you pack the jar with herb, the greater the herbal portion and the less the menstrum portion will be. Fresh roots usually contain a lot of water, and these can be chopped or pureed and tinctured in a ratio of 1 part herb to 1 part menstrum. So for every 1 oz. Of fresh root by weight, you can use 1 oz. Of menstrum by liquid measure. Although it is not necessary to know the weights and measures when preparing a fresh herb tincture, this information can be helpful for planning ahead, obtaining necessary ingredients and using as a reference point regarding the strength of your tincture.

It's important to remember that fresh herb tinctures require more herb than do dry, since dry herbs are equal to 4 or more times the amount of fresh ones. Remember, too, that while drying herbs concentrates them, it can also decrease their potency.

Unlike tinctures made with dried herb, where a loss of menstrum through absorption occurs in the final product, there will be no loss of menstrum in the fresh herb tinctures. There may even be a slight gain in liquid, supplied from the water content of the fresh herb. The amount of liquid gained will depend on how much water the herb you are tincturing contains and how well you squeeze or press the tincture during the straining process.

Storage of Tinctures. Store tinctures in amber glass bottles, away from direct light or heat. Amber glass bottles (with or without eye-dropper caps) are available through mail order (see Resources).

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