How to Make Maitake Mushroom Tincture

The maitake mushroom has enjoyed centuries as a traditional medicinal herb, but the best part is that it makes for a lovely addition to nearly any kind of recipe as well! 

Whether you want to experiment with maitakes for the sake of your health and well-being, are looking for a way to spice up your favorite meals, or both, this guide is for you.

How to Make a Mushroom Double Extraction

When preparing maitake, there’s one caveat that we will need to work around.

In simple terms, the taste isn’t that great when consumed raw. However, cooking using common household methods will eliminate plenty of the health-boosting compounds that make the maitake so unique and beneficial!

Instead, what we are going to look at is what’s called a double extraction. This process follows the principle that there are two groups of compounds found in maitake – those soluble in water and those soluble in ethanol. 

By extracting both of them, we can create a tincture that retains all the health benefits of the raw mushroom while being that much easier to incorporate into our favorite recipes!

Ingredients

  • Organic maitake mushroom, freshly harvested.
  • A good source of ethanol, high-proof vodka is a good option.
  • Fresh water, preferably filtered or distilled.

Equipment

  • Two glass mason jars, preferably one liter or larger.
  • Pot.
  • Dehydrator.
  • Funnel or strainer.
  • Cheesecloth.

Serving Size

About 200 servings of 5 ml each.

Estimated Cost

Approximately $35 - 50.

Prep Time

5 hours.

Cooking Time

About 30 days.

Total Time

1 month on average.

Nutrition

One 1-quart jar of tincture contains 315 calories.

One serving (5ml) contains approximately 2 calories.

Wash, Chop & Dry

The first step in our recipe will be preparing our maitake mushrooms. While you could use fresh mushrooms for this recipe, dried maitake is preferable as it will retain more of its nutrients that way.

Wash your mushrooms thoroughly, and then chop them into smaller pieces or slices. Next, lay them out flat to dry in a dehydrator.

If you don’t have one and can spare the time, you can also leave them to dry naturally in the sun, but be aware this could take at least a few days.

Single Marc or Double Marc?

Here, you’re faced with a choice of how to proceed with the recipe.

You can make your alcohol and water-based extracts from two separate batches of mushrooms. This is called a double marc process.

Alternatively, you could just make the alcohol extract first and then re-use leftovers from earlier steps in the recipe for your water extraction. That would be the single marc process.

Choosing either is mostly a matter of personal preference, though some research suggests that a double marc process preserves a few more nutrients. Because of that, we recommend going the extra mile and using two individual batches of maitake for your water and alcohol extractions, respectively.

The Ethanol Extraction

First, we need to make our alcohol-based extraction. Fill one of your mason jars with the dried and chopped maitake you prepared earlier. Fill the jar with alcohol, and let it sit for a few weeks.

Make sure to keep the jar away from sunlight – covering it isn’t necessary, but may help.

Every day or so, check on the progress and shake the jar a little to encourage maximum extraction.

After two or three weeks, you can strain the extraction from the jar into another suitable vessel. Take out the mushrooms, and let them sit for a bit.

Decoction

You might not be familiar with the word decoction, but don’t worry – it’s not that scary. To decoct means to let a piece of plant matter simmer for a long time, so as to achieve the optimal consistency, taste, and nutritional purity.

In our case, we’re going to fill a pot with a few quarts (up to a gallon) of water and bring it to a calm simmer. Next, add the mushrooms from your alcohol extraction to the pot, and leave them for at least two hours. 

Opinions vary on the perfect amount of time, but be aware that you will need to keep adding new water periodically no matter what.

Strain, Press, Decant, Store

When done, remove the mushrooms from heat and strain them carefully, pressing to extract as much fluid content as you can, and add it to the existing alcohol extraction.

You should now have a maitake tincture that is roughly between 20 and 40% ethanol to water. Label the jar, close it securely, and store in a cool place away from the sun.

Done! Enjoy your maitake mushroom tincture!