Extracts

There aren’t too many people that don’t grab an extract for baking or cooking. I even like a tad of Rosemary extract in a drink to give it a pizazz. Did you know making them requires only Vodka and flavoring? Yes, it is that easy and no, you cannot taste the alcohol. Store bought extracts may contain corn syrup, in a homemade extract you can leave that out. Making homemade also allows you the leisure to brew a few batches every few weeks to keep a good supply in the cupboard on a regular basis and, to give away as gifts.

Almond:

There are a couple of ways to make Almond Extract. This is how I do it and honestly, it is not hard at all.

Blanch almonds with the skin on in boiling water for about 1 minute. Take them out and peel them. The skin comes off incredibly easy and it only takes a couple of minutes to peel a cup or so of them. (You can save time and buy sliced almonds, but I buy organic raw in the whole because I like the taste).
Slice/Cut the almonds and add:
Vodka, then:
Brew for 6-8 weeks in a dark place.
When done brewing, at this point I strain it into a dark container for use. It is as easy as that.

Here are a few more recipes that I use in an 8 oz Mason Jar to brew:

Vanilla:
5 – 8 Vanilla beans sliced down the middle to expose the seeds. Add to an 8 oz Mason jar or container and add:
Vodka, then:
Brew for 6-8 weeks in a dark place.
When done brewing, transfer to another container and tap off the old one with more Vodka and brew again. You can do this a couple of times with the pods. Don’t throw them away.

Lemon:
1-2 Lemons. Peel strips of zest without the white pith from the lemon. Add the peels to your container and add:
Vodka, then:
Brew for 6-8 weeks in a dark place.
When done brewing, at this point I strain it out into a dark container for use.

Orange:
1-2 Oranges. Peel strips of zest without the white pith from the fruit. Add the peels to your container and add:
Vodka, then:
Brew for 6-8 weeks in a dark place.
When done brewing, at this point I strain it out into a dark container for use.

Mint:
Gather up a cup or so of mint leaves and insert into your container. Take a skewer or chopstick or something like that and bruise the mint leaves. That is where the flavor is for the extract. When done with that, add:
Vodka then:
Brew for 6-8 weeks in a dark place.
When done brewing, at this point I strain it into a dark container for use and toss the greens. Don’t reuse them.

Babble:

My Rule Of Thumb:   I will take a jar, fill it about half way or a little more of the flavor, i.e, lemon, almonds, etc., then add the Vodka.  I like a richer tasting extract.

Straining:  1. Strain and throw away greens in extracts. 2. Decide if I want to keep the citrus or oily additives.  I never really toss the vanilla pods for at least a few times tapping off the vodka each refill and thus making more.  Greens, however, will spoil in time. 

Available storage for me is… anywhere it fits.

Brewing/Timing: Brew your concoction in a dark place. Shake it up every couple of days. After 6 weeks take a peep inside and give it a taste. If you want a richer taste give it another 2 weeks. After that is when I transfer to a dark bottle for use and storage in the kitchen.

Storing: I store anywhere in the house where sunlight doesn’t go. Brewing in a very dark place allows me to use a clear large container than the ones I use for kitchen storage after brewing. I transfer after brewing to an amber/darker colored jar for longer shelf life.

Vodka: I use a middle of the road Vodka. Works just fine for the brew.

Bourbon: My understanding is that Bourbon is a common replacement for Vodka. I haven’t tried it but it sounds interesting. Will do and let you know. If anyone has tried it, I would be curious how it turned out.

So there you go. Your cooking and baking extracts have no limits on flavors. Have fun. Save a few bucks and enjoy homemade… because you can.

From Mrs. Shecky’s Kitchen to you.

That’s it.

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