Shroom Capsules with the Cap-M-Quik
The following is a pictorial guide for using the Cap-M-Quik capsule making machine to create your own mushroom capsules. This is such a simple process that you can easily learn it from the instructions included on a business card with the machine (no kidding, they come on a plastic business card that doubles as a spreader). The purpose of this tek is to show Shroomerites the simplicity and relative efficiency of this method. I believe that many people never pursue the idea of mushroom capsules simply because they don't realize that a $20 machine can produce professional-looking capsules in batches of 50 with almost no skill or dexterity required, and in only 10 minutes per batch.
There are other teks on capsule-filling on this site. They're all great, but this one pertains to a specific machine that is fairly common and easily attainable, the Cap-M-Quik. Order one from the official website
, or check your local organic grocer or vitamin store--you won't regret it. I recommend buying the OO model (which also supports smaller O capsules). OO-sized capsules are common and hold about a half gram of powder each.Reasons Capsules Rock
1) Capsules allow easy, consistent dosing (one OO capsule holds approximately .5 gram (500 mg) of powder).
2) Capsules are easy to carry. Just get a pill bottle and go.
3) Capsules are discrete. They are visually indistinguishable from common herbal supplements.
4) Capsules allow you to use finely ground powder on the go when a grinder is impractical (like making a drink while camping).
5) If you swallow them, there's no taste (except the burp).
6) Well-mixed powder gives you equally potent capsules, so dosing is more predictable and sharing is more equitable.Items Required
1 Cap-M-Quik capsule filler
1 Cap-M-Quick tamper (sold separately or bundled in all-in-one kits on the official website... Buy it
1 coffee grinder (capable of producing a fine powder for maximum compaction)
50 empty capsules, Size "00"
Mushrooms, cracker dry (at least 25 grams to fill 50 capsules, though you don't have to cap a full load every time)
1 pair of latex gloves
1 no. 2 pencil (if you don't buy the highly recommended tamper accessory)Preparing the Mushrooms
This isn't a tek on how to dry mushrooms, but just understand that cracker dry means completely dry
. Truly "cracker dry" mushrooms should snap cleanly when an attempt is made to break them. That means absolutely no bending--just a clean, easy break. I use a box with desiccant to finish them off after they come out of the dehydrator just to be sure. You could also use a fan to begin the drying process, but always end with with a trip to your desiccant chamber.
To make a full batch of 50 capsules, you will need at least 25 grams of dry mushrooms. Since there will be some spillage (it's unavoidable), it's best to have a few extra grams on hand. Don't worry--you can get the spillage back after the capsules are done, but its almost impossible before they are sealed due to the nature of the device. If you have exactly 25 grams, you'll probably end up with underfilled capsules and leftover powder, making future dosing less precise.
I strongly suggest using an electric coffee grinder to grind your mushrooms. A cheap 2-blade model will be fine (<$20), but expect to refill it frequently due to the small grinding chamber. Getting a superfine powder maximizes absorption in the stomach and allows for the most consistently filled, professional-looking capsules.
Grind your mushrooms to the finest powder possible. Don't stop grinding once they're just unrecognizable. Coffee grinders can make a powder that will often form a little cloud of suspended particles above it. This is what you want. Get them fine
! It's also a good idea to pulse the grinder and avoid any long stretches of running so that heat doesn't build up in the motor. Keep the powder in a sealed container until it's ready to be capsuled to prevent humidity absorption.
There is always some powder that gets stuck in the grinder and is never recovered. If you want to minimize your waste, do large batches at once. The unrecoverable residue is about the same amount no matter how much has been ground, so the waste from one batch of 200 grams is a quarter of that from 4 batches of 50 grams.Filling Your Capsules
1. Prepare your workspace. It's best to be on a desk or table where you can sit comfortably. Use a large piece of paper or something similar to catch any spills. Again, there will be spills. Put on your gloves. The reason for the gloves is that the powder will eagerly absorb moisture and oils from your hands, creating a sticky mess. Capsules can also stick to all but the driest hands.
2. Put the two small spacers on the large base piece. Put them on their pegs with the taller side (marked OO) facing inward for OO capsules.
3. Now put the capsule holder (the piece with all the holes) on the same two pins.
4. Congratulations! You've completely assembled the machine! Now, while you're celebrating, separate the individual capsules into their long and short halves. Load the long halves into the machine, and keep the short halves on hand for later.
5. Now you should have a rack of waiting capsules. Well, don't keep them waiting!
6. There's no science to determining how much to scoop onto the machine--just try not to put on much more then you can fit in the capsules without compression. Spread the powder around so it completely fills all of the holes. The plastic business card is designed for this.
7. Continue adding powder and spreading it around until all of the capsules are full, then remove and save any excess powder by using the card as a scoop. You may notice that some powder is spilling out around the capsules--this is normal and is why we always grind a little extra. It's also why a good, easy to clean workspace is important.
8. Now take the tamper that you hopefully bought with your Cap-M-Quik and squish down all of the powder at once. If you lack a tamper, use a no. 2 pencil (eraser end or unsharpened flat tip--either will fit perfectly into your OO capsules).
9. Wow! That sure went down far, didn't it? The first tamp will push the powder all the way to the bottom. Here comes the fun part: scoop some more powder on there and repeat the spreading and tamping process. Continue until you can't squeeze anymore powder into the capsules. Press hard if you really want to get the most into each capsule. They'll probably store longer if packed super tight, since oxygen will have a harder time penetrating a compacted powder.
10. Now, if you're confident you are done cramming mushroom goodness into your capsules, it's time to drop the holder. Rotate the two elevated rectangular tabs 90 degrees and the holder will fall down, but will keep the capsules upright.
11. Take the other halves of the capsules from earlier and seal the deal. Each capsule will snap together when you press the top half all the way down.
12. Don't your 50 new capsules look awesome? Now just lift up the capsule holder and drop the capsules into something like a large bowl.
13. A good amount of loose powder will come with them, so make sure the bowl is big enough to catch it. Move the bowl around with a sifting motion to shake the powder off of the pills. Collect the pills and scrape up all of the loose powder. If you are doing several batches at once, you can wait until the end to clean the powder.Storage
These capsules store well in an ordinary pill bottle. I often use glass amber bottles just to be safe. Many common herbal supplements look very similar to these capsules. They often have an "actual size" outline on the label that matches your capsules perfectly. Because of this, you should be very careful about where you put these. If someone was looking through a bag of yours and found a "Ginkgo Biloba" bottle full of your special
capsules, they would almost certainly think that this was a natural supplement meant to improve brain function. They would be right, just not in the way that they thought.
For long-term storage, refrigeration, or even better, freezing will extend the life of these capsules. Make sure that the bottle is airtight - some people like to use a vacuum bag sealer either directly on the capsules or around the bottle before putting them in the freezer. When you retrieve the capsules from the freezer, do not shake them since they may be brittle. Also, give them plenty of time to return to room temperature before opening them. If they are at all cold, condensation can form and they'll turn soft and sticky. As a side note, never freeze fresh mushrooms. Any freezing water in the mushroom material will cause an undried mushroom's cells to rupture and you'll find a pile of black goo later on.Taking Your Capsules
When using you new capsules, be prepared for a bit of a wait if you swallow them whole. It can take more than two hours for gelatin capsules to dissolve in someone's stomach. Furthermore, vegan capsules tend to take even longer to dissolve than traditional gel capsules (they'll also cost you more). The consumer will often be confused and frustrated, think they just had a bad joke pulled on them, and then it will hit them hard. The delay doesn't shorten the trip, it just makes you wait a while before it begins. I imagine drinking some fluids, especially acidic fruit juices, would be good after taking the capsules to help break down the gelatin and speed the process.
One surefire way to speed the onset of effects is to loosen your capsules before swallowing them. Take however many capsules you intend to consume out of the bottle, and put them on a plate. Individually pull on each capsule, gently but firmly, to separate one half from the other. This takes a bit of force considering capsules are made to "lock" when filled. The powder should remain in the longer half of the capsule. Leave the short half of the capsule on, but leave it loose. With proper placement on your tongue, the powder won't get all over your mouth, but will surely be unleashed by the time the capsules reach your stomach. Prepare for a rapid onset due to the maximized surface area of your fine powder.
The versatility of the capsule option is that each capsule can be opened to easily provide you with a pre-measured, .5 gram dose of ultra-fine mushroom powder that you can put in any food or drink, or just pour straight down your throat. Think of the capsules as convenient containers that offer infinite possibilities for dosing rather than slow ingestion vessles.In Conclusion
I hope this tek showed you a new option for storing and enjoyng your harvests.
And remember, the eyes eat first, so you must always give some thought to properly presenting your capsules. Here are 250 that I finished while watching LA Confidential one night. Oh yeah--this is tedious, but satisfying, work, so have a movie playing!
For high resolution photos of the entire process, check out these links:http://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574566653-cmq_intro.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574567232-cmq_6.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574567451-cmq_8.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574567570-cmq_9.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574567684-cmq_10.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574567975-cmq_11.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574568084-cmq_12.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574568193-cmq_13.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574568308-cmq_14.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574568440-cmq_15.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574568670-cmq_17.jpghttp://files.shroomery.org/files/08-28/574568788-cmq_18.jpg