Infusion

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Infusion -
How to prepare and use infusions.

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Often confused with a tea while most infusions are made by steeping the correct amount of dried herb in boiling water for a longer period. A tea can only be made with hot or boiling water while some infusions are made with cold water (which can be plain, distilled or spring water)

Most infusion recipes prescribe the weight of dried herb in grams to be steeped in a pint of boiling water. Do stick to the recipe as dosage is very important and often critical. Usual quantities are one ounce of dried herb to a pint of water and dosage is then determined by measuring the amount of resulting liquid.

Whereas teas are normally consumed immediately after the boiling water has been added and therefore taken while hot, infusions are steeped for up to 30 minutes after which it is unlikely that they will still be warm.

Infusions do not last if stored and should be freshly made every day. Some suggest that the life of an infusion can be prolonged by adding a small amount of wine or other form of alcohol but to my mind that then becomes half tincture and you can just as well go all the way and steep it in alcohol.

Do not exceed the dosage recommended as there are already substantial variations in potency between brews which would have been taken into account by the person who specified the recipe and dosage.

There are not many tasty herbs. Most are bitter so do not expect that the infusion will be pleasant. Some people manage to acquire a tolerance for the taste but if you can't, all is not lost. Adding sweeteners like sugar or honey or disguising the taste by other means is not likely to affect the efficacy of the herb.

Infusions and teas can be made from fresh herbs but as most recipes call for dried herbs it is difficult to get the dosage right with fresh herbs. Dried herbs have lost a lot of their bulk and weight but not all lose the same amount (Rosemary looses less than 50% of its weight and even less bulk while Basil loses up to 80% of its weight and powders to less than 5% of the bulk).

A course rule of thumb is to use one and a half times (by weight) of the fresh herb but don't hold me to it.

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