About Steeping Periods

The length of steeping periods vary depending on the alcohol content of your spirit, the type and amount of plant material you use - and what best suits your taste.

Steeping periods are to a certain degree also depending on the surrounding temperature in your steeping-place.

High temperature enhances the process while low temperature slows it down.

Plant parts such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, blossoms, fruits, berries, and seeds are structured differently - often containing different flavouring constituents.

Some of these constituents are sweet to taste, while others are acid, bitter, pungent, or even really unpleasant.

Some constituents can be extracted in only a few days - others in weeks or months.

So, the trick is to steep just as long as it takes to extract only the wanted flavours, and only to the degree that suits your taste.

Compare the Process with Tea Making

One of the principal constituents in tea leaves is tannin. A little tannin gives your tea a pleasantly bitter taste.

But if you steep your tea leaves for too long you will extract too much tannin, and then your tea infusion will become much too bitter and astringent.

So, it's really important to follow the steeping process carefully and taste the infusion from time to time to find out when it's just right - right for you.

Remember to also shake your infusion lightly from time to time.

Guidelines for Steeping Periods

Because light, air, heat, frost, preparation, drying, storage, etc. affect plant constituents...

...and because constituents may even fluctuate depending on place, season, weather, soil, time of day, etc. it's not possible to give you exact steeping periods.

However, to get the most out of your schnapps making, here are some generalguidelines for steeping periods...

...provided you steep your plant material in a dark place at room temperature, 18-20°C (64-68°F), and in spirits with an alcohol content of 40% (80 proof).

  • Roots - Rhizomes
    Based on fresh roots and rhizomes, harvested between early autumn after the plants have died down, and early spring before bloom.
    Steeping period... 1-2 weeks.

  • Leaves - Stems
    Based on fresh, young but fully developed leaves and stems that are picked in spring and early summer.
    Steeping period... 1-7 days.

  • Flowers - Blossoms
    Based on fresh and fully developed flower buds or just opened flowers and blossoms.
    Steeping period... 1-7 days.

  • Fruits - Berries
    Based on fresh and fully ripe but not squishy fruits and berries.
    Steeping period... 2 weeks-12 months.

  • Seeds
    Based on fresh seeds, fully developed but before completely ripe.
    Steeping period... 1-7 days.

  • Spices
    Based on fresh spices.
    Steeping period... 1-7 days.

  • Dried plant material
    Based on fresh (short shelf life) herbs, spices, flowers, and other plant material.
    Steeping period... 1-7 days.

Again - above guidelines are just general. Also because there are rather many exceptions. So, follow the recipes if you are new to making flavoured schnapps.

When you become more experienced you might want to adjust or alter my recipes to suit your own taste. You may even want to create your own recipes.

Remember, making flavoured schnapps is not an exact science with precise measures and methods. So, try to experiment with your infusions, steeping periods, etc. - that's half the fun. 









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