If you do a lot of baking or homemade cooking, you will use a lot of extracts.
Your needs can range from homemade cookies, french toasts, homemade coffee creamers and so on. Buying commercial extracts is usually okay, but you take the chance with it being full of corn syrup and artificial flavor. Why spend the money when you can make it at home yourself? They are great hostess or holiday gifts as well. I like to use these swing top bottles for storage and when gifting. It just ads that homesteady flair to me. But, in reality, you can just use plain old mason jars to make and store your extracts in. Here’s how to make homemade extracts.
I like to slice the vanilla beans down the middle, place in the jar and cover with the alcohol. Then, every couple of days, give it a good shake. Continue to do this for about 6 weeks, then your vanilla will be ready to use. You can either strain off all the extract and rebottle as gifts or for yourself, or I just use the extract with the beans in it. As I need to, I continue to fill the jar back up with alcohol. After about 5-6 refills, I will replace the beans entirely.
pint sized jar with tight fitting lid
Place the almonds in the jar, cover with the alcohol. Shake daily for 3 weeks, then strain the nuts out. This won’t be as strong as commercial extract, but I like the flavor myself. Since almond extract that is commercially made contains bitter almonds, and they contain a cyanide percursor, some argue that you shouldn’t make homemade almond extract. I am personally not worried about this, as the same nuts also contain cancer fighting compounds.
Lemon and Orange Extracts
1 Tablespoon sugar
Zest your chosen fruit-lemon zest for lemon extract, orange for orange. Place in a pint jar with a tight fitting lid and cover with the sugar and alcohol. Shake daily for 2-3 weeks, then strain.
The shelf life of these extracts is fairly indefinite.
Alcohol is a preservative, and I have never heard of it ever going bad, but the flavor may fade after 6-12 months. If you don’t use a lot of the extract, make it in smaller quantities or plan on giving some as gifts.