Thursday, June 22, 2017

Making EXTRACTS

Today is a quick post on making our own flavored extracts.  I had a couple people requesting how it is made, and what it is used for.
I have to admit, I am an extract geek!  I LOVE flavored extracts and use them often.  Now that I have learned how incredibly easy it to make my own - well, it opens up a whole new world!

You need herbs, citrus, or what ever you are going to use for flavor.  You also need Vodka.  You also need jars or bottles.
When you purchase PURE extracts at the store, they are all made with alcohol.  You won't taste the alcohol when processing is done, and if you cook with your extracts - you will cook all the alcohol out.

Most all directions say to let the extract steep for 5 - 6 weeks.  I go at least 8 weeks.  It gives you a much richer flavor!  I simply write the date on the jar lid or jar - set in a cool place out of direct light.  Shake or tip your bottle back and forth every few days - just to thoroughly mix flavors. 
Once your time is up - strain the liquid and place in little bottles or small jars for use. 
I use my mesh strainer with a coffee filter in it and place over a bowl.  It makes it easy to do - then I funnel into jars.
I DO NEED to find some cute little bottles - for gifts!
Your extract will NEVER go bad!

VANILLA - 3 whole vanilla beans - slit own the middle.  Place in about a cup of vodka
MINT (any type of mint) - 1/2 cup leaves (bruised and torn) in about 1/2 cup vodka

ALMOND - chop raw, unsalted almonds (about 1/4 cup) and 1/2 cup vodka
WALNUT - 3/4 C toasted, unsalted walnuts chopped with 6 oz. vodka (let this set 2 months or more)
CINNAMON - Use whole cinnamon not ground!  Break up about 3 medium sticks into a 1/2 cup vodka
COCONUT - 1 1/2 C shredded coconut to 1 cup vodka
BERRY - strawberry, blueberry, raspberry - any type of berries!  About 3/4 cup berries to 1 cup vodka
CHOCOLATE - 1/4 cup cocoa powder to 1 cup vodka (definitely let this sit 8 weeks or more)
CITRUS - orange, lime, grapefruit, lemon, etc.  Zest about 1/2 an orange or grapefruit and a whole lemon or lime (no pith) add to about 1/2 cup vodka


I also used lemon balm to make mine - doing the same as mint.

Just think of the possibilities.  You can make extracts that you don't even see in the store. 
I am going to try making some rustic ones with basil, rosemary, and thyme.  These would be wonderful in making a hearty rustic type of muffin or bread!

I use extracts A LOT in baking.  Many times if the recipe calls for vanilla, I add something else, just to change up the flavor.  In my baking, I use extracts in cookies, sweet breads, muffins and cakes.  I like adding nutty ones to homemade fudge.
I also make ice cream a lot - so I have many fruit flavored ones (I have purchased in the past) to flavor the ice cream.  I also chop some fruit to add.  We love peach, raspberry, strawberry, and even buttered pecan ice cream.

There are really NO LIMITS to what type you can make.  Any fruit, herb, nut, etc. will work!!

At the grocery a 1 ounce bottle of pure extract runs any where from $3.50 - $6.  A big bottle of Vodka can be purchased for around $15 and it will make many, many bottles of extract!

I hope this helps and that you will all give it a try!  YES, it takes a while to be 'done' - but it is sure worth it.  It is so much cheaper and you can experiment with many new and exciting flavors.

**I know some instructions said 1/2 cup, 1 cup, or 6 oz. of vodka - use your own judgment!  You can use any where between 1/2 cup to 1 cup and you can add more or less flavorings.  There is nothing etched in stone.

HAVE FUN - this is such a fun and easy project.
THINK OF THE NEAT GIFTS YOU CAN MAKE!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, I had no idea you could make so many extracts! Thanks for sharing. Now I need to ask hubby to pick me up a bottle of vodka. :D

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    1. Kathy isn't it just amazing. There is really no limit!
      Get a big bottle - as you will become addicted to making extracts just like I have.
      HAVE FUN

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  2. Ive made lemon balm tea and the flavor is delightfully refreshing and smooth, imagining it as an extract, yummmy yum yum ! thanks, Cheryl!

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    1. You are very welcome. HAVE FUNWITH THIS!

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  3. I tried to make vanilla last year but I accidentally bought the flavored vodka. Not good. I think I was just in a big hurry -kind of afraid I would run into someone I know. ha ha Have you seen the price of real vanilla? Oh my I probably should send my husband to buy it and get busy and try it again.

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    1. Absolutely - PURE vanilla has just gotten totally out of reach. The price is crazy.
      Yeah, I bet flavored vodka would not make the extracts very tasty! LOL

      Yep, send hubby and try again!

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  4. Cheryl, I love to read your blog - so much great info. My Mom dried me some peppermint leaves for tea. I have lots of dried. Can I make extract from the dried crushed leaves? Thanks, Cindy in Alabama

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  5. Cindy, first thank you for your compliment.
    Next, I am not positive on that question. I know there are many uses for dry leaves, I use them in tea as well. I am not sure how they would work in extract making - but in my mind I would think it is POSSIBLE.
    You might try just a small batch to see how the flavors goes.
    Sorry I couldn't be more help.
    Have a great day.

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