Making and Using Herbal Bitters – What to Know
One of our seven basic tastes, bitter flavors, plays a critical role in our health. There are bitter receptors in our mouth and throughout our digestive system. Foods and herbs with bitter taste aid in digestion and the uptake of nutrients. This article will dive into how you can make your own herbal bitters.
A diet lacking bitter elements can cause digestive issues like constipation, gas, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, and food intolerances. But because so many find the bitter flavor hard to swallow, many people suffer these issues by choosing the sweet and savory flavors popular in today’s food culture.
Salivation begins when a bitter flavor hits your tongue, making a before-dinner aperitif (a cocktail made with bitters) the perfect choice, just like your dinner salad of bitter greens.
Bitter receptors in your stomach release the enzyme HCL to aid in the extraction of nutrients. A lack of HCL can lead to nutrient deficiency, food intolerance, ulcers, and more.
Bitter flavors also stimulate your gallbladder and liver to secrete bile which is essential in digesting oils and fats. Your blood sugar can also benefit from the stabilizing effect of the bitter taste.
And the bitter taste promotes the critical process of peristalsis, the colon’s motion that facilitates proper bowel function.
By extracting herbs and spices into alcohol, you are creating flavoring agents that can have significant health benefits. Virtually anything you can harvest is a candidate for extraction.
Some examples of bitter foods are cabbage, many varieties of lettuce, Kale, Cocoa, and Brussels Sprouts.
Bitter spices include dandelion, licorice, wild cherry bark, and many more that offer specific flavors and benefits..
Making Bitters at Home
Making your own bitters can be fun and rewarding. Crafting bitters is not a quick process, but it is not difficult. You will need more patience than energy, as infusing the base alcohol with the herbs and spices requires time and very little of your effort.
You can find countless recipes and ideas for homemade bitters online. It is a personal experiment of flavors and ingredients, but we recommend you stay on a proven path for your methods.
For your convenience, we offer this straightforward recipe as a way for you to dip your toe in the bitter pool.
Simple Bitters Recipe
2 parts dandelion root
1 part gentian root
1 part licorice root
Fill 1/3 of a glass jar with herbs.
Cover entirely with alcohol to within 1 inch of the top.
Seal with an airtight lid, label the jar with ingredients, and start date.
Place the jar in a cool dark location for four weeks.
Strain with cheesecloth to remove solids.
Put the solution into a small dropper or spray bottle and use it as needed.
While time does most of the work, you will want to check your bitters daily with a smell test. Put a couple of drops on your palms and rub them together to assess your progress.
You will also want to shake each jar every four days to aid the process.
Along with their sour or bitter taste, many plants also provide significant health benefits.
Here is your Spice Station bitter agent shopping list.
These aromatic herbs and spices turn the raw tincture into bitters, providing a flavorful balance and a more palatable result. They also deliver numerous health benefits. Plus, you can mix and match these elements to create herbal bitters that suit your taste and needs.
Aromatics from Spice Station include:
The bitter taste is essential for your health. These formulations can help with digestion and improve gut health. Immune function and inflammation can both benefit from the use of bitters. Appetite and blood sugar control can also improve by incorporating bitters into your diet.
The benefits are there whether you craft bitters for your health, to enhance soups, stews, and sauces, or for that special cocktail recipe.
We hope this article inspires you to start your journey into the world of bitters for better health, flavors, and fun.