Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More Extracts

If you can find an extract in the store, chances are that you can make it at home.  With the vanilla going well so far, I decided to spread my wings and try a few others.  Just a few.

Front-Almond   Back-Meyer Lemon, Mint, Mint, Coffee

Generally you want to use a liquor that has little taste or smell of its own.  The best, at least by consensus, seems to be vodka.  Being a busy mom who home schools, I could do a little research to let you know the hows and whys of the proof you select, but, I'm not going to. There are plenty of websites that will tell.  Like I tell my son, go do your homework :-O  I will tell you that the one thing that should sway your choice as to brand is that you should want to drink it.  Spend what you want.  Just make sure you like it.

As with the vodka, (or gin, white rum, some even use Kentucky bourbon, or gold rums) quality ingredients are key.  I always buy the best I can or grow it myself.  Organic, non-GMO, responsibly sourced, that's up to you.  Here are the 4 extracts I have steeping right now: Meyer Lemon, Mint, Coffee, and Almond. They are all easy, much less expensive that what you buy in the store, and you made them!

Here are the basic instructions for ALL of the extracts, followed by any specific instructions for each individual flavor.  These directions will make you approximately 1 cup of extract. (that means they each have 1 cup of vodka!)  I used pint jars.

Place the flavoring base in a **sterilized mason jar (any glass, air-tight container will work).  Cover with the vodka and shake once or twice a week for at least 4 weeks.  The extract will be usable at this time, but the longer you let it sit, the better.  When ready to use, strain into a sterilized glass container through a fine wire sieve on a funnel.  Pretty bottles make pretty gifts.  Store in a dark cabinet.  These can last for years.

Meyer Lemon

Take the zest of 2 lemons no pith (white) and cover with vodka

Meyer lemon (Any citrus fruit will work, this is what I had on hand)


Put coffee beans in a baggie and roll with a rolling pin or pulse grind in you grinder.  You want them chunky though.

4 tbsp coarsely crushed coffee beans (I got fresh ones from our new local roaster in Guthrie, OK-Hoboken Coffee Roasters-you must get by there if in Guthrie) covered with vodka.

Hoboken Coffee


Strip the leaves from the stems and muddle lightly or coarsely chop.  Loosely pack into jar and cover with vodka.  This may take a little more than a cup of vodka.

I chose tis vodka because I like their gin and it had a $5 rebate

Mint leaves


Blanch your almonds if they have skins, or you can buy blanched almonds.  You will need about 30 almonds.  Chop coarsely and cover with vodka.  Just a note on almond extract, commercial extracts are made with bitter almonds.  Apparently they have a pretty good amount of a cyanide compound and this makes it unsafe to try to use them to make your own extract.  I am using regular sweet almonds that you can purchase anywhere.  This is what all the recipes I have seen use.  I don't think the smell or the flavor will be as strong, but we will see.

Chopped almonds

Almond Extract

How do you blanch an almond?  Bring a small pan of water to a boil, add almonds and remove after 30 seconds.  Place quickly into cold water.  Drain on paper towel.  Pinch almonds between thumb and finger like shooting a marble and shoot away.  They should pop right out of their skins.  Put any unused ones in the fridge or toast them.

Well, there you go!  Hope you try it.  I can't wait to try mine!!

**You can sterilize the jars and lids in the dishwasher.  They may be fine if you just wash them, after all you are using alcohol, but if you want to be sure, use the dishwasher.

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