Homemade extracts are such enjoyable and beneficial concoctions to have in your kitchen.
They add complex flavors to drinks, desserts and savory recipes alike.
These extracts also contain many healthful beneficial ingredients to support your overall health. It’s a little bit of magic in a teeny bottle. Mint is a perfect example of a multi-use extract. Mint adds lovely flavours to food and beverage and it aids in digestion.
With a collection of extracts at your disposal you’ll be delighting people with your plant based kitchen wizardry.
Always Use High Quality Ingredients!
On our homestead good nutrition is really important to us. We spend a lot of time growing organically. Making our own tinctures ensures that the best possible ingredients are used when making them. This saves us money while also providing a superior product to anything we could buy. Even if you don’t grow your own, sourcing the best quality ingredients will ensure that you end up with a product you’ll enjoy and feel proud to gift to others.
Who wouldn’t want to amplify their culinary creations with the essence of vanilla and coffee or explore old world classics such as rose petals and lavender? Long before our great grandmothers had heard of vanilla they were using roses to enhance the flavors of sweets, now we can do it too!
Alcohol acts as a preservative and prevents contamination of the herbs by fungus & bacteria. This is why it is important that the ingredients that you use are free of moisture before you steep them in the alcohol. It is imperative that you keep water out of this recipe.
Easy Home-Made Culinary Extracts
Extracts are impressively simple to make. All you need are a few ingredients and time will do the rest of the work for you.
- 80 Proof (40% alcohol by weight) vodka or as close to this as you can find.
- herbs and flavorings of choice
- fresh herbs Fill jar 3/4 full
- dried herbs Fill jar 1/2 full
- Place the fresh or dried leaves (roughly chopped if fresh) into a small glass jar. If picked fresh allow them to air dry for several hours before using. This will eliminate the risk of water and mould. Pack the herbs in nice and tight. You want to cram as much as you can into the jar with enough space for the vodka to cover the plant material.
- Fill the jar with vodka making sure the material you are using is covered.
- Place a paper cupcake liner or wax paper over the jar and tighten the lid. The paper liner will help prevent corrosion. Alternatively you can use plastic lids.
- Let the mixture macerate. Shake the jar every day and store it in a cool dark cabinet. Daily shaking will prevent any material that has floated above the vodka from spoiling.
- Most extracts will be ready in 8-10 weeks but it never hurts to leave them a bit longer.
- Strain out the plant material using a fine mesh strainer covered with cheesecloth. Decant the extract into small bottles and label them clearly.
- Extracts don’t need to be refrigerated and should keep indefinitely if stored in a cool dark location.
The options for extracts run far and wide. Coffee, mint, floral, herbs, or even a combination of these things. Ginger root, turmeric, chamomile, lemon verbena, the choices are endless! Feel free to get creative or follow these recipes for the classics.
Classic Vanilla Extract
- 5-6 vanilla bean pods & 80 proof vodka.
- split the vanilla beans open by cutting them lengthwise. If necessary cut them to size to fit your jar or bottle.
- Infuse for 8-10 weeks and then strain and bottle the extract.
Did you know that vanilla has antioxidant and antibacterial properties?
- 1 cup fresh chopped mint leaves or 1/2 cup dried mint leaves and 80 proof vodka
- Make sure the leaves are dried thoroughly. Moisture can promote mold. Pack the jar ¾ full of mint and cover the mint with vodka.
- Infuse for 8-10 weeks. Strain and bottle the extract.
- ½ cup chopped organic coffee beans & 80 proof vodka
- Roughly chop the coffee beans to release the oils and flavors.
- Place the coffee beans in a jar. Cover with vodka, shake well and allow to infuse for 10-12 weeks. Strain and bottle the extract.
- 1/2 cup crushed raw cacao nibs and 80 proof vodka
- Roughly chop the cacao nibs to release some of the flavor and place them in the jar. Cover with vodka, shake well and allow to infuse for 10-12 weeks. Strain and bottle the extract.
Lemon / Orange Extract
- The peel of 2 organic lemons or oranges and 80 proof vodka
- Remove the yellow zest of the lemon (the skin) and place it in a jar. Avoid the white pith beneath the skin as this can make the extract bitter.
- Cover the lemon skin with vodka. Shake well and allow to infuse for 8-10 weeks.
Rose Petal Extract
- 1 cup of fresh organically grown petals or ½ cup dried rose petals and 80 proof vodka
- Fill your jar ¾ full with petals and cover with vodka. Shake well and allow to infuse for 8-10 weeks.
Rose Hip Extract
- Fill the jar 3/4 full with chopped rose hips top up with 80 proof vodka.
- Shake well and allow to infuse for 8-10 weeks. Strain well and bottle the extract.
- ½ cup lavender flowers or 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers & 80 proof vodka
- Pour the lavender flowers in a small jar and cover with vodka. I don’t chop these as it can make it hard to strain after.
- Shake well and allow to infuse for 8-10 weeks. Strain and bottle the extract.
We’ve been thrilled with the results of our home-made extracts. They’ve inspired creativity in the kitchen apothecary. The lemon extract is truly lemony and coffee extract is intoxicating. Extracts are well worth the small effort they take to make!