Making Digestive Bitters

Bitter: A Mysterious Flavor

Bitter is an intriguing flavor. The very most sensitive of all tastes, bitterness has an excitable quality that some people would describe as disagreeable and harsh. The very word “bitter” has even become linguistically associated with expressions of anger, resentment, pain and reactivity. Yet complex bitter flavor does far more than cause lips to pucker and heads to shake. Known for stimulating the senses and engaging the digestive system, foods possessing a bitter quality have long been valued for a unique ability to cleanse the body and build vitality.

Many cultures revered bitter foods as an essential part of a regular healthy diet. Large numbers of of the diverse roots, barks, flowers and herbs of the wild plant kingdom are bursting with complex bitter flavor. When consumed, such plants naturally stimulate the production of saliva, gastric juices and bile to balance the appetite and prime digestion. Yet while bitter botanicals were consumed readily by our foraging ancestors, such richly flavored plant foods have been unfortunately lost to the endless aisles of sweetened and salted snacks filling grocery stores today.

Digestive Bitter Recipe:

1 Tablespoon eastern red cedar berries or juniper berries
1 Tablespoon anise seed
2 Tablespoon dried peppermint leaf
1 Tablespoon ginger root
1 Tablespoon cinnamon chips
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon dried orange peel
1 Tablespoon dried dandelion root
1 Tablespoon dried burdock root
1 Quart highest proof vodka, moonshine or grain alcohol

Optional: peppermint essential oil & arrowroot/tapioca starch for emulsifying

Stir the herbs/roots together and divide equally between 2 glass quart-sized jars.  If the jars are filled more than halfway, portion off the herbs into a third jar.  Ideally you want 1/3 – 1/2 full of herbs.

Top both jars off equally with vodka.  Depending on your exact jar size and volume of herbs, you may have excess vodka.

Cover the jars and store in a cool, dark place for a minimum 6 weeks.  If you have the time/patience, allowing for a full 12 weeks is ideal.  If accessible, shake the jars every couple of weeks to agitate the herbs (not a requirement).

Strain the bitters through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or a thin kitchen towel.  Squeeze the bag/cloth to extract as much liquid as possible.  You should have just over a quart of bitters.  Discard the herbs.

The bitters are now ready to be used! I like to dose out 2 oz. at a time into a dropper bottle for easy everyday use.

To use: squeeze one dropper full of bitters into small glass of filtered water.  Drink 30 minutes before a meal.

10 Reasons to Use Bitters:

Including bitter foods in the diet isn’t simply a matter of reviving tradition or taste. Bitter flavored foods also have a rich history in the healing arts. From the wine infused herbal concoctions used by Ancient Egyptians to the 16th century prescriptions of famous physician Paracelsus and beyond, elixirs brewed from carefully selected bitter herbs have been treasured as cure-all remedies across the ages. Studies have confirmed that getting an adequate amount bitter flavor is important for digestive balance and linked with many related health benefits. Eating bitters regularly has been shown to:

1. Curb sugar cravings
2. Soothe gas and bloating
3. Relieve occasional heartburn
4. Encourage digestive enzymes, bile & HCL production
5. Calm upset stomach and nausea
6. Increase absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
7. Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels
8. Balance appetite
9. Ease constipation and regulate bowel movements
10. Support liver function and healthy skin

Benefits Of Digestive Bitters:

Mercola on Bitters:

Digestive Bitters: Better than Probiotics!

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