Make your own extracts for cooking and baking

( Have you ever reached for an extract that you bought at your local grocery store and wondered, as a homesteader, if you could make your own? The answer is, yes you can, and the process certainly is not as difficult as you may thing.

Buying extracts in the store is alright most of the time, but you risk purchasing a product that is heavy with unhealthy corn syrup and artificial flavorings. So why spend the money for these kinds of products when you can make fresh, organic, wholesome extracts in your own kitchen?

As far as containers go, some people prefer to use swingtop bottles like these (no, we are not affiliated with Amazon), but you can also use plain ol’ Mason jars to store your extracts, because they seal just as well.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

Vanilla extract

— 4-5 vanilla beans

— 2 cups alcohol: You can use rum, vodka or bourbon – all will give you a good flavor. But the thing is, if you get a really cheap brand, they generally have a higher alcohol content, and that will help to extract the flavor better.

To prepare: Slice the vanilla beans down the middle and place in your jar, then cover with the alcohol. Every 2-3 days give the bottle a good shaking for a few moments, and continue to do this for about six weeks. After that your vanilla extract will be ready to use.

Leave the beans in the jar; as you need to, refill it with alcohol. You’ll get a good 5 uses out of those beans.

Mint extract

Get a quart jar with a tight-fitting lid, and fill it about halfway with fresh mint leaves (tip: these grow like crazy in a garden!). Grab the mint leaves first thing in the morning; rinse them off and dry with a towel.

Remove any stems from the mint leaves and put them in the jar, filling it about halfway. Then cover the leaves with some cheap vodka. Allow the jar to sit in a cool, dry place for about 3-4 weeks. Strain the extract and compost the leaves.

Almond extract

— 10-15 whole, skinless, raw almonds

— 1 cup of cheap alcohol (you choose)

Place the almonds in your jar and cover them with your alcohol. Shake the jar every day for three weeks, then strain out the nuts. You’re set.

Some people say homemade almond extract is not as strong as what you find in stores, but many prefer the homemade taste.

Lemon and Orange extracts


— Gather zest from the fruit and put it in your jar

— Add 1 tablespoon of sugar

— Fill with vodka

Shake your concoction daily for 2-3 weeks, then strain.

Remember, homemade extract makes a great gift as well, so once you’ve sort of perfected yoru process, share it with friends and neighbors.

Here is a great, short video on how to produce vanilla extract using vodka, the chef’s preferred alcohol:

And here is one on how to make that easy-peasy lemon extract: is part of the USA Features Media network. Follow us on Google+.




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