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Blog title header: make your own functional mushroom extracts

How Do I Make Functional Mushroom Extracts?

Getting the most from your dried mushrooms – DIY extracts & tinctures

There are endless choices for mushroom supplements and tinctures, it seems a new one is on the market every day. Choosing the best one for you can be a chore. A more enjoyable and creative task might be to make your own. This method may even yield more potent results than your average supplement.

Below are 3 Easy at-home methods for extracting the desirable components from functional medicinal mushrooms.

Jump to Method:

All of the best parts of your lion’s mane, reishi, turkey tail, cordyceps, and chaga are locked up inside the chitin cell wall, where without an extraction, they remain mostly inaccessible.

Mushroom tinctures and powder extracts require extra time and labor that result in higher costs. Doing your own extracts at home will help you get the most for your dollar. And you’ll have fun doing it!

Some general methods for breaking down mushroom cell walls are:

  • High-temp dehydration (180+F)
  • Prolonged boiling
  • Pan frying
  • Repeated freezing
  • Alcohol extraction
  • Ultrasonic vibration
  • Fermentation

This handy guide will get you started with some of the simplest at-home methods, using the least fancy equipment.

Dry Powdered Extract

This method yields dry powdered mushroom with broken cell walls, which can be used in coffee or tea, cooking, or smoothies. It involves breaking down the chitin with heat, and re-drying the cooked material.

Tools needed:
  • Blender or mill
  • Dehydrator or oven
  • Silicone baking mat or dehydrator sheets
Directions:
  1. Blend your mushroom material into a powder. You won’t need to strain the material, so finer is better.
  2. Mix with a slight excess of water and heat on the stovetop until boiling. Maintain a light simmer for the following times. At the end, you want the consistency of thick soup.
  3. Lion’s mane: 10 minutes, stirring constantly so as to avoid the bottom burning (Slightly more water helps).
  4. Reishi or chaga: 1 hour, adding water as needed. Note: dry powered reishi extract remains very fibrous and is not useful for cooking. However, in capsules a small daily amount can be taken without stomach upset
  5. Cordyceps or turkey tail: 20-40 minutes, adding water as needed
  6. At this point, you may optionally employ the freezing method to further break down cell walls. Freeze and thaw the material one or more times. Make sure not to let the mixture sit out too long unrefrigerated.
  7. Finally, dry the material in an oven or dehydrator, and run it through the blender again to re-powder it.

Mushroom Simmer Tea

This method is great for on-the-fly preparation in small batches. It yields only the water-soluble mushroom constituents, but it’s simple and easy.

Tools needed:
  • Heavy Knife
  • Strainer, coffee filter, or cheesecloth
Directions:
  1. Chop or crumble your dried mushrooms down to a smaller size suitable for filtering through a strainer. Depending on what mushroom you’re using, you may need to get creative with a cleaver or even a hammer! Lion’s mane and cordyceps may be crumbled by hand.
  2. Add plenty of water and simmer for up to the following times, making sure an excess of water remains in the pot. You can cut the times short if you’re in a hurry or if you want a lighter flavor, as reishi and chaga can be quite bitter. Just be aware that the longer you boil, the more water-soluble ingredients you’ll get.
  3. Cordyceps or turkey tail: 20-40 minutes
  4. Reishi, chaga: 1 hour
  5. Lion’s mane: 10 minutes
  • Strain the mushroom material and use the water to make your favorite tea. You may desire to keep the strained mushrooms, and later them to your alcohol tincture. Much of the remaining alcohol-soluble constituents will be remaining in the material.

DUAL Extraction Method

This is the most involved at-home method, and it takes the most time. However, it yields the broadest spectrum of mushroom constituents by removing both the water-soluble and alcohol-soluble constituents from the mushroom. This dual-extraction method uses simple kitchen equipment, but you may find more elaborate methods elsewhere.

Tools Needed:
  • A quart mason jar with a lid
  • 120-proof or higher grain alcohol
  • One or more large mason jars w/lids
  • A jar or container with ml graduations
  • Blender or mill
  • A strainer and cheesecloth
  • Freezer-safe plastic storage container.

This method employs the “water first” technique, wherein the water-soluble components are extracted first, and the material is then re-used in the alcohol step.  The resulting alcohol and water are combined in the necessary proportion to result in a final tincture with an alcohol content of 25-35%.

Directions:
  1. Chop or blend the dry mushrooms to your desired size. A finer blend will result in more ingredients extracted, but if you use a blender, the material cannot be strained or filtered with a coffee filter or strainer. It will need to be squeezed through cheesecloth.
  2. Boil the material in the same manner as step two in the “Dry Powder Extract” section.
  • Strain the material through pieces of cheesecloth, squeezing the water from each pour. You may want to let the mixture cool and wear a dish-washing glove if it’s still too warm. Collect all of the squeezed material in a bowl for later.
  • Measure resulting volume of water extract in milliliters. In the absence of a ml measuring tool, an accurate gram scale may be used. 1 gram of water = 1 ml. Record the value and freeze the liquid in a freezer-safe container. It will remain kept until the alcohol portion is done soaking.
  • Transfer the squeezed mushroom material to a large mason jar. Add enough grain alcohol to fully cover the material. Seal and shake well. Shake the jar about once per day for a long period of time, up to one month. The longer it soaks, the better. There are ways of speeding up this process, but for the average kitchen, the long soak is the safest and easiest.
  • At the end of the alcohol soak, squeeze the material in the same manner as step 3 above. Record the resultant volume of alcohol extract, and discard the mushroom material.
  • Finally, it is time to make your tincture. Thaw and shake the water component, and we’ll use a bit of math do determine how much of each component to mix together to achieve a final alcohol content of 25-35% for long-term preservation.

Calculating Ratios:

If it’s been a while since your last algebra course, don’t panic!

Just follow this simplified chart to find the right proportion to mix your water and alcohol components together.

For example, if you’ve managed to extract 500ml of 120 proof alcohol extract, you’ll need an equal 500ml volume of water decoction to achieve a 1:1 ratio, and the final alcohol content will be around 30%.  Just mix the two together and shake. That’s it!

Just a few final tips, should you need them:

  • Reishi, Chaga, and turkey tail tinctures benefit from a higher-proof alcohol. Greater than 120, if you can find it.
  • If you end up with extra water or alcohol component, you can use the rest by adding an appropriate amount of fresh water or alcohol in accordance to the chart.
  • If you use 120 proof or higher, saccharides may fall out of the suspension during the final mix. This will not affect the quality of the tincture, but to avoid it happening you can warm the solution gently and add the alcohol component slowly to the water while stirring.
  • Always shake your tinctures before use. Some sediment is normal.

Obviously, Parasol mushrooms are perfect for this activity. Regardless of where you purchase your mushrooms, we encourage you to purchase them from a local or domestic farmer. If you do purchase supplements, that is fine, we still like them too! Just watch out for sourcing, fillers, and proper dosage. Read more about our non-negotiables for choosing extracts.

If you make your own tincture, we’d love to see it! Tag or share with us on social media!