Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Homemade Flavored Extracts (Vanilla, Lemon, etc....)

Five minutes and two ingredients per extract and you are on your way to a cupboard full of flavored extracts for all your baking needs!

Homemade extracts are simple, inexpensive and there are no artificial ingredients.

Homemade Extract

Ingredient of choice for extract (vanilla beans, lemons, oranges,limes, fresh mint, raspberry,etc.....)
Vodka (inexpensive, plain vodka)

Extract ingredients (note: this is NOT inexpensive vodka (I had to borrow a bottle for pictures))
 If you are using vanilla beans, split 3 or 4 beans in half down the center and place in a jar.  For lemons, limes or oranges, zest the outer rind of 2 fruit.  For mint, coarsely chop 1/4 cup of mint leaves. For fruit (raspberry, strawberry, etc...) crush 1/4 C. of ripe fruit.

slice vanilla beans down the center to release the seeds

zest of 2 lemons in jar
Place your prepared ingredient in a pint jar and add 1 cup of vodka.  Cap tightly and shake.

lemon extract in progress
Let jars sit for 3-6 weeks, shaking occasionally.  The extracts will darken (especially the vanilla) and will have a nice scent of their main ingredient.  If you used fresh fruit, strain your extract.  You can leave the vanilla beans and citrus rinds in the jar.  As you use up your extract, you can add more vodka to replenish.  I have had the same jar of vanilla beans for 2 years now and they are just getting to the point of needing to be replaced.  You could also occasionally add more citrus rind or mint leaves to your jar to increase the flavor.  Fruit extracts should always be made in smaller batches and not replenished, the flavor tends to break down over time.

Use your homemade extracts just like you would store bought extracts. Add a splash to cake batter or cookies for a yummy twist. I especially like chocolate cake with mint extract or sugar cookies with lemon extract.

*There is alcohol in these extracts, so if this is of concern for you be sure to only use the extracts in cooked items (the alcohol will cook off).

*Extracts make great gifts!  I once made vanilla extract for all my friends for Christmas and gave it to them with my favorite cookie recipe. How about a basket of different extracts for a friend who loves to cook or a couple just getting started on their new life together?

vanilla extract for gift giving


Rescuedgoods said...

Hi. Just found you through One Pretty Thing ( I think!) Love this-have a gourmet friend who's birthday is next week. I have made vanilla before, but had no idea how to make lemon extract! Off to check out the rest of your blog now!
Thank you!

Jill said...

I've made vanilla extract before but I had no idea it was just as easy to do fruit extracts!!
I would just suggest that for the citrus ones, where the rind is used, one might want to buy organic. Otherwise, any pesticides on the peels get grated right into the extract. Ew!
Awesome, awesome, awesome! I bake a LOT and storebought extracts are expensive. Can't wait to try this!

amanda said...

wow this is great! i did a vanilla one a little while ago but i never really thought of all the other possibilities! I'm for sure going to try the others! thanks!!

Deby said...

I have been making extracts and tinctures for quite some time. (Personally I prefer grain alcohol to vodka - I can smell the difference)...I have yet to come up with a way to make maple extract. I just can't see spending good money on artificial flavor...Any ideas? By the way, I live in Vermont and maple is huge here...

Hearthandshome said...

@5eba6231e7122d8e470eb8504ad1e868 I have never tried making maple extract, it is one of the few artificial ones that I use as I am allergic to real maple syrup. I wonder if you could dissolve maple sugar in the alcohol and use that? I have no idea what the ratios would be but I would start small and try it out. Let me know if you try it out and it works!

Christy Morgan said...

I just make a bunch of extracts, one of the ones I love is my black pepper extract. Now the kids cant see the pepper and they will eat it all.

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