Making Decoctions – How To
In my first decoction I will be using a dried mushroom called Wood Ear; also known as mo-er, black fungus and cloud ear. This mushroom is used throughout Asia as an edible fungi and an herbal medicine, it is also known for its antioxidant properties. Wood ear mushrooms can be found in many Asian dishes and soups, but today we will boil the mushrooms and use the decoction liquid in cold process soap.
I have gathered my supplies and a package of dried Wood Ear mushrooms. I started out with the 1:9 ratio (10% dried herb, 90% liquid) that we have done with tinctures and infusions; but my mushrooms began absorbing so much of the water that I kept adding more water and ended up using 2.5% mushroom, 97.5% liquid. So when making your decoctions please remember to keep notes and adjust as needed.
I put the sauce pan and water on the stove top and began heating the water and the mushrooms, bringing it to a boil, and then letting it simmer for about 20 to 40 minutes. Once the simmering process has completed to the desired extraction level (the item becomes softer and squishy), I turned off the heat and let it sit to cool a bit before straining. These mushrooms smell great, I feel like adding a bunch of other vegetables and making a soup; maybe next time. Check out the photos of the mushrooms. Don’t they look great?
Such a simple and easy to follow process, I’ll show you tomorrow how to incorporate this wonderful decoction into a batch of cold process soap.