About six weeks ago, I posted DIY – Herbal Tinctures (Part 1). Tonight it was time to process my first batch of herbal tinctures, and I’m happy to report that it turned out better than I had anticipated.
Here are the jars of St. John’s Wort and Lemon Balm. They’ve been sitting in a dark cabinet, getting a good shake every day for the past six weeks.
First, I strained each one through some flour sacks. The “official” instructions say to use cheesecloth, but trying to find that in the grocery stores of Indianapolis proved to be impossible, so I improvised.
It’s important to squeeze it hard, really wring it out, to capture all of the liquid.
Nice and cloudy St. John’s Wort. (Lemon Balm was the same!)
Now, this is where it got tricky. After straining the liquid, I poured it back into the glass jar, where it quickly settled into two very distinct layers. My instructions didn’t mention anything about a cloudy tincture, so I googled and discovered that I wasn’t quiiiite done!
Clarifying the Lemon Balm. I should have used coffee filters for this but, since we have a Keurig and haven’t had a coffee filter in the house in two years, I had to improvise again and use paper towels.
Once it has taken the time to filter through and remove the impurities, the liquid was nice and clear and ready to bottle.
Bottling is a messy process, but once it’s done, you’re done! Affix some labels and your herbal apothecary is in business!
The jars are full of what I couldn’t bottle due to not having enough supplies, but I have several hundred dollars worth of tinctures here if I went to buy this much at Whole Foods. Can’t wait to try them out!
I actually had another full jar of Lemon Balm, but I used that to start the process all over and try out making a double tincture.
Now that Spring is finally here, I’m planning my small herb garden so that I can make tinctures from fresh herbs later this year!