Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to make tinctures

Tinctures use alcohol to extract the essence of herbs into a concentrated amount. They take about 2-3 weeks to finish, but only about 10-15 minutes to make. This year for Christmas I made sleepy time/stress removal tinctures which contained these ingredients:

lavender (calming, tasted good, anti-spasmatic)
lemon verbena leaf (calming, tastes good)
fried-egg plan leaf (sleep, calming)
rosemary (relaxation, anti-spasmatic)
poppy leaf (sleep, calming)
vodka (must be 80 proof or higher. I used a 1.75L bottle of Sky vodka for 12 tinctures)
12 pint sized mason jars

I recommend using organic herbs because pollution or toxins will also be extracted (ex: avoid picking herbs on the side of a busy street). Fresh herbs are best, but if you don't have fresh herbs handy, dried leaves will also work.

Step 1: Gather 12 mason jars and clean them. We're not actually canning anything, and alcohol is involved, so they don't need to be specially sanitized.

Step 2
Add herbs. I used more lavender and lemon verbena than anything else because it was more available to me (an they're delicious). I only used about a handful of fried egg plant and poppy leaves because a little goes a long way, and they taste horribly bitter.

I added about 2 spoon fulls of lavender to each
1 1/2 spoonful of lemon verbena and 1 spoonful of rosemary
Split a handful of fried egg plant leaves into 12 (so only a couple leaves in each jar) and did the same for the poppy leaves.
Step 3
I pack the jars about 3/4 full of herbs then fill with vodka. The more herbs you stuff in, the better. Close the lids on tight and let the tinctures sit for about 2 weeks out of direct sunlight. They will turn a lovely golden brown color and smell quite herbaceous.

This is what my tinctures looked like after 2 weeks.
Beautiful golden color! You can strain the herbs out or leave them in the jar. When I last made tinctures I strained them all and it was a huge messy hassle. This year I will leave the herbs in to float around. They are rather pretty.
Step 4
For packaging, I cut some book marks in half and stamped them. I also wrote the ingredients and directions on the back of each.

The final product

I like to take a drop or two before I go to bed at night. Enjoy!

1 comment:

cb said...

how cool! these would make great stocking stuffers for next year! thanks for sharing!

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