Quick Guide on How to Make Turkey Tail Tincture – Video at the end of this post
Start with enough mushrooms to fill a mason jar quart size, they can be fresh or dried (or some combination).
Soak 1/2 the turkey tail mushrooms in 190-proof Everclear for 2 weeks, shaking periodically.
Strain the liquid, keeping the turkey tail mushroom solids, but go ahead and set the liquid aside.
Add the 1/2 of unused turkey tail mushrooms that were not used in alcohol, to the mushroom solids you just removed, and soak them for 12 hours in a crockpot set to “warm” which should ideally be 130-160°.
After the turkey tail mushrooms soak in the crockpot, strain out any mushroom solids. You now have the water you soaked in the crockpot, along with the alcohol extract.
We want to combine these to liquids in a ratio of 3.5 parts water to 1 part alcohol. And that will give you your turkey tail mushroom tincture!
Either dried or fresh turkey tail mushrooms will do. I tend to use dried mushrooms more than fresh these days, mostly because it makes figuring out alcohol-mushroom ratios easier. Another advantage is that I can pack much more of the actual mushroom fibers into the alcohol when I dry them out (and thus decrease volume) Fresh mushrooms carry lots of H2O to play with. I ground my mushrooms up in the blender to break them down, which allows the extract process to function more effectively. It makes a huge difference.
I used Everclear, but any alcohol should work, provided that you are careful with the end alcohol-to-water ratio. Our ratio is 3.5:1, and it is based on using 190-proof everclear alcohol. There are plenty of excellent spirits that are made in a distilled spirit and are absolutely fantastic, so please continue to use 190 proof wheat spirits from local distilleries.
I will be honest, I did not measure this very as accurately as possible. Fill the mason jar half full of crushed mushrooms and fill it up with just enough Everclear to coat the mushroom solids with about an inch above to spare.
When straining out the Everclear, I measure and then add 3.5x that amount of water back into the solids (along with new, fresh solids we saved). After straining the water in the final step, I might add a little bit more of my fresh tap water just to be sure that it is 3.5 times the alcohol.
If I am trying to be extra accurate, I weigh my dried mushrooms prior to steeping in alcohol, then I will weigh my wet mushrooms after the alcohol is straining out and prior to adding the water. This will tell me how much alcohol I am carrying over from the first soak to the second. After a lot of trial and error, I am now dumping the whole thing in a fine cheesecloth, hand-squeezing out all of the liquid. I am 100% okay with having tiny particles in our end product.
You can see that as “cloudy material” in the end product. You want lots of it! You do not really see any of that muddy polysaccharide until the alcohol is added back into the water, causing a momentary visual reaction.
I tend to keep my temps around 130-160°, as studies show the medicinal components, which are soluble in water, may break down in higher temperatures. I do not stress out if it is a bit warmer, but definitely try not to boil it. I use the Magic Butter Machine for my soaks at night now and set it at either 130° or 160°. We usually just run it an hour or two, and let it rest, as some blends may become “gummy” then get too hot, especially polypore.
We keep the extracts stored in a cool, dark area, our pantry. We use our tinctures in dropper bottles, taking 2-4 dropperfuls of each tincture from turkey tail mushroom per day.
Make sure you shake them up before using, there should be lots of particles floating around, as well as a muddy substance. I personally pour this in my coffee in the morning, as I am not too fond of how these tinctures taste, and the coffee covers the flavors up nicely. Lately, we are consolidating all our tinctures in a single bottle with equal amounts of each, for the sake of convenience.