Chaga is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most popular alternative health remedies. Historically used as a cure-all in Alaska and Siberia for generations, chaga has been shown to have positive effects on immune system strength, digestive health, skin health, and much more. Chaga is traditionally consumed as a tea and is usually sold in chunks, but some chaga recipes require that chaga be ground up before use. How can you grind chaga?
While it’s possible to buy chaga in ground-up form from some vendors, it’s easy to grind your own chaga if you need to. Here’s how to do it.
How to Grind Chaga
While chaga tea can be made using chunks, some chaga recipes can only be made using chaga powder. For example, chaga tinctures require the use of powder in order to maximize the nutritional gain. Pre-ground chaga is sold by many vendors, but some users prefer to purchase chunks because they are easier to store. If you have chaga chunks, you’ll need to grind them into powder on your own.
The purpose of grinding chaga is to allow easy access to the sclerotium, the most nutritious part of the chaga. Boiling ground chaga or using an alcohol extraction process will allow you to access more of chaga’s nutritional value, and ground-up chaga is also easier to prepare than using chaga chunks.
If you own an electric meat grinder or coffee grinder, you can use them to grind up chaga chunks. Simply break the chaga into smaller pieces and place them into your grinder. The reason you need to break up larger pieces of chaga is to prevent jamming or damage to the grinder. Follow your device’s instructions and grinding the chaga should not be a problem.
As an alternative to electric grinders, you can use either a mortar and pestle or a hand mill to grind chaga. Mortar and pestles are the traditional method of grinding chaga, and grinding chaga by hand can be a useful skill to learn since it will allow you to prepare chaga even if you are in a situation where you have no electricity.
To grind chaga with a mortar and pestle, place the chaga chunks in the mortar, then crush the chunks using the pestle. You may want to break up smaller chaga chunks before grinding in order to make the process faster and easier on your arms. Note that one downside to using a mortar and pestle is that the hard black part of the chaga outside the sclerotium is very difficult to grind.
To grind chaga with a hand mill, you will need a mill with at least two blades: a coarse grinder blade that will break up large objects such as coffee and a fine blade that can be used to grind spices. The coarse blade is used to break up the chaga chunks, while the fine blade is used to further refine the ground-up chaga for faster brewing. Unlike a mortar and pestle, the coarse blade of a hand mill will grind up the hard black part of the chaga mushroom.
Start by removing the nut from the end of the hand mill’s feed screw, place the blade’s edge against the feed screw, and then replace the nut. Clamp the mill to a counter or table that is stable to ensure that it doesn’t fall off, then place a dish or other container underneath the blade. Place your chaga chunks in the top of the mill and begin turning the handle. After turning the handle twice, ground-up chaga should begin falling out of the mill’s blade end. If you have a hard time turning the handle or the screw begins binding, turn the handle in the opposite direction until it stops. As with a mortar and pestle, you may want to break larger chunks into smaller ones beforehand for easier grinding.
Ground-up chaga is more difficult to store than chaga chunks, so before grinding, you should have an appropriate way to keep your chaga secure. Chaga powder is best kept in sealed containers, such as Tupperware containers or jars. Place your chaga in a cool, dry place that is removed from the elements, as excess heat, cold, or sun may have an adverse effect on your chaga’s quality. Stored properly, ground chaga will last for a long time.
While using ground chaga is not mandatory to enjoy the benefits of this superfood, grinding up chaga can be useful in some cases, and is necessary for certain chaga recipes. If you collect your own chaga or prefer to buy chaga chunks, you’ll need to learn how to grind your own chaga, but fortunately, it’s a simple process, if time-consuming and physically strenuous for some individuals. Done in the right way, ground chaga can serve you for years to come.