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Making Digestive Bitters  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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I would like to make some herbal bitters, perhaps using some dry orange peal, burdock, dandelion and teasel.

Do the burdock and dandelion roots need to be dried before I use them?

Does it make a significant difference if the burdock is first or second year?

Anything else that would be nice in some digestive bitters? I just came up with this list because they are things that are either growing on the property or sitting in my pantry.

Any recommended readings or links? So far online this has been my favourite page on how to make bitters.
 
Jami McBride
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Hi 'R'

Wow - dry vrs fresh, that is a great debate on herbal forums: One of my fav discussions can be found here - Henriettes Herb Forum
Long discussion made short, it depends on the herb and personal preference for the end result. No herbs are the same, each has its own characteristics. With the herbs you have listed and for the use you mention I don't see a problem with using dry. That said, you will want to make sure you use the right alcohol proof for your tincture when using dry herbs.

In your link, Gwen recommends Rose Mountain Herbs as a source for herbs - On the RMH website they have a information laid out nicely. See RMH Tinctures and Extracts page here Rose Mountain Herbs You may find this information interesting.

There is loss in herbs potency over time, some much more than others. Woody herbs and some roots dry and retain their potency better - generally speaking. Personally I've only used fresh roots thus far, but haven't read any issue with using dried second year burdock as long as it is harvested properly (in the spring).
 
r ranson
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I'm very grateful for your reply. All the recipes I could find used dry roots to make bitters, but that would mean that I would have to first dry the root which seemed unnecessary.

I made some small batches of individual plant bitters.

Dry orange peel: Deliciously bitter.
Fresh 2nd year burdock: A bit on the sweet side, but burdock always is for me. Wouldn't mind it as a minor ingredient.
Fresh oregon grape root: Tastes worst of the lot, but has something in it my body says it would like for a week or two, but not long term.
Dry Teasel root: Tastes like intense tease tea. Feels good in me, so will definitely add this to my bitters.

Going to leave them a few more days to get stronger, than mix the batches together. It should give me enough oregon grape to satisfy whatever my body wants from it.

Was thinking by volume:
1 part burdock
4 parts teasel
5 parts orange
a clove

Any of these ingredients interact with each other in a unwanted way? I'm still reading about each plant, but so far going by what my body says, this is what I thought to try.
 
chad Christopher
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It is best to consume fresh plants when available, make tinctures and teas when an abundance, and use scrap items such as citrus peel oils, for long term storage. In no way do i think sugar and vinegar makes a good digestive aid, but when brewed with medical teas, it is a good alternative for storage, and an easy way to consume them, read: fermented salad dressings and marinades. If you consume dairy, you can always cream up a batch of milk with bitters, or add fresh bitters to make butter compounds. Food is medicine. And cooking should always be a fun chemistry lab.
 
Jami McBride
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R Ranson wrote:I'm very grateful for your reply. All the recipes I could find used dry roots to make bitters, but that would mean that I would have to first dry the root which seemed unnecessary.
Any of these ingredients interact with each other in a unwanted way? I'm still reading about each plant, but so far going by what my body says, this is what I thought to try.


That is mostly because (1) they have bought it - dry, (2) they harvest and store their own and use the oldest first, etc. you don't need to first dry it.

The plants will be fine together, you just want to watch how your body reacts to your recipe you may need to tweak a few times to find the perfect blend for you.
 
r ranson
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Time to make another batch.

Anyone here have a favourite bitter recipe?
 
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