Does Chaga Go Bad?

Chaga can last a long time, especially when it is stored correctly. It can also be used over and over again. There are a variety of methods for storing and using chaga and each one can have a different shelf life. “Does chaga go bad?” is a challenging question to answer because of the variety of ways to use and prepare it. Here are a several ways to use and store chaga so that you can get the most out of each piece.

How long will chaga keep freshness?

Chaga looks and feels like hard, dry wood. However, looks can be deceiving. If you harvest chaga yourself, the chunks will contain moisture. Moisture that is left in the chaga can produce mold that will not be good for you. To prevent this, break the chaga into smaller chunks and dry the chaga in a dehydrator. Store the chunks in an airtight container. If you purchase chaga chunks, they will come dry. There should be a date on the package and as long as the chunks are stored in an airtight container, they will stay usable until the suggested date.

Chaga chunks can be ground into powder and steeped to make a tea. Purchased powder and tea bags will have a use by or best by date. Typically, dry chaga chunks or powder should last for about a year.

Storing Tea

Chaga chunks can be simmered to make a thick syrupy tea. No Taste Like Home suggests using Cass Ingram’s method of steeping the chunks in a slow cooker with the lid off. This allows the temperature to remain consistent while creating a thicker concentrate. This concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator. Add water to it and reheat to create a thinner tea or use the concentrate in recipes. The chunks can be steeped again if stored covered with water in the refrigerator or frozen in airtight bags in the freezer. When the chunks stop steeping to a rich brown color, they are spent.

Does Chaga Go Bad? Using Your Senses

If you purchase your chaga products, you can be confident that the use-by date is the safest way to determine whether or not the chaga is still fresh. Once you have made chaga tea and are saving it, or reusing the chunks, the best way to determine whether or not it is still good, is to use your senses. There is no guarantee as to how long made products will last. Smell for any off smells and examine chunks or refrigerated tea for any mold growth. If you are uncertain of how old a product is, discard it. To avoid this, date any containers of saved chaga. Use the oldest dated containers first.

Can Chaga Make You Sick?

It is not likely that Chaga will make you sick. The chaga itself does not go bad, but it can host molds that can cause problems. Dry products will not go bad when stored properly and used by their marked date. Use the same common sense when using prepared chaga that you would any other leftover food. There have been is relatively little research regarding chaga, so there is little known about the interaction of chaga and other medications. If you are currently taking medications or receiving treatment, talk to your doctor about whether or not your should also be using chaga.

Sources

Elephant Journal 

Photo: Dried-Chaga-Mushroom by William Ismael