Chaga has become one of the world’s top superfoods due to a bevy of scientific research on its numerous benefits. Consuming chaga has been shown to boost your immune system, combat aging by eliminating free radicals, and a host of other benefits. However, in order to preserve its qualities, you will need to learn how to store it properly.
Under the right conditions, chaga can last several months or more, allowing you to build up a stock for rainy days. Here is how you can store chaga to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
Does Chaga Go Bad?
Despite what you might think looking at a piece of dry chaga, chaga does have an expiration date. While dried-out chaga has the look and feel of wood, it is a living organism that goes bad like all plants, animals, and living creatures. In general, chaga has a shelf life of several months, after which it is no longer good to use.
If you purchase chaga from a vendor, they will typically include an expiration date on the package so that you know exactly how long the chaga is good for. If you harvest your own chaga, you will have to rely on your own intuition and preparation process. Chaga harvested in the wild contains significant amounts of moisture, which greatly reduces the shelf life of the chaga by allowing mold to grow, rendering the chaga inedible. To forestall this, dry out your chaga after picking it for maximum freshness.
Chaga does not go bad in the sense that consuming expired chaga will make you sick. However, expired chaga gradually loses the nutritional content that makes it worth consuming in the first place. Additionally, expired chaga will develop mold if allowed to retain moisture.
To determine whether chaga is good to use if you don’t know the expiration date, use your common sense and your sense of smell. If your chaga smells off, take note. Visually check chaga chunks for mold growth. If you don’t know how old a particular chaga chunk is, throw it out. To keep track of how old your chaga is, write the date of each jar of chaga you fill up and use the oldest dated containers first.
As mentioned above, the number one reason why chaga goes bad is moisture. To ensure your chaga’s longevity, remove any and all moisture from it before storing it. If you purchase your chaga from a vendor, they will do this for you, but if you pick your own chaga, you’ll need to remove the moisture yourself by either air-drying your chaga or heating it in your oven.
Once dried, chaga should be kept in sealed, airtight containers. Glass jars are ideal because they are easy to open but also keep air out. This prevents your chaga from being affected by outside pollutants when you aren’t using it. Chaga tends to pick up other smells, such as coffee and food, very easily, so keeping it in an airtight container is vital to preserving its quality.
After placing your chaga in the aforementioned containers, store them in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard or pantry. As mentioned above, all containers of chaga should be dated so that you know how old each one is and how long it is good for.
Another good way to store chaga is to make chaga iced tea. Instead of brewing chaga tea every time you need a drink, you can create a pitcher of iced tea and store it in your refrigerator for the future. Chaga iced tea will last for several days if kept cold. You can also spice up your iced tea by adding lemon juice and honey during the brewing process.
Keep in mind that chaga chunks can be reused when brewing tea. In general, each chaga chunk can be used twice to brew tea. This will allow you to extend the longevity of your chaga. Remember to dispose of used chaga chunks after brewing.
Storing chaga properly is key to unlocking its full potential. Chaga contains a potent mix of nutrients and minerals that have numerous proven benefits for human health. However, this nutritional content can be easily ruined through improper drying or storage. You don’t want to this happen, so it behooves you to learn how to store your chaga the right way.
When properly dried and stored, chaga can last for months or longer, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of chaga tea whenever you want. Whether you pick your own chaga or buy it from a vendor, you should always keep track of expiration dates and store your chaga in a dry, cool place in an airtight container. Done the right way, you can enjoy the benefits of chaga for years to come.