How To Make Extracts For Holiday Baking {7 flavors!}

How To Make Extracts For Holiday Baking | Holiday baking means using lots of different extracts to flavor your delicious creations. Skip the expensive commercial extracts that are full of artificial flavoring and corn syrup and make homemade extracts instead! | Holiday baking time is almost here! And that means using lots of different extracts to flavor your delicious creations! Why take the chance with commercial extracts when they are often full of corn syrup and artificial flavor? Why pay so much more for those commercial versions when homemade extracts are so much more economical? Vanilla, mint, lemon, orange, chocolate, and even coffee extracts -- yes, you can make all of them yourself! Homemade extracts are very easy to make. They make great hostess or holiday gifts as well, especially when bottled in a pretty bottle with a ribbon. For a handmade look, simply use plain old Mason jars to make and store homemade extracts.

How To Make Extracts

For all the extracts, you will need:
  • a Mason jar with a lid (I use pint-sized jars most often.)
  • 80 proof alcohol -- either rum, brandy, or vodka

For Vanilla Extract...

  • 6 Vanilla Beans
  • 2 cups rum
  • a pint-sized jar
Slice the vanilla beans down the middle, place in the jar, and cover with the alcohol. Every couple of days for at least 6 weeks, give the jar a good shake. Then your vanilla is ready to use. Either strain off all the extract and re-bottle as gifts or for yourself, or use the extract with the beans in it. The vanilla beans may be used up to 3 more times before you discard them. When using the homemade extract, you can cut the amount you need in the recipe by 1/2.  For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, you can make it with 1/2 teaspoon. This will make your homemade extracts last that much longer!

For Mint Extract...

You'll need
  • a pint-sized jar
  • fresh mint leaves to fill the jar
  • vodka to cover
The best flavor for a homemade mint extract comes from leaves picked first thing in the morning. Rinse the leaves and dry them with a towel. Remove the leaves from the stems and stuff them into the jar. Cover with the alcohol and allow to sit in a cool, dry place for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain the extract and compost the leaves, or use the leaves in a mint julep or adult lemonade. Mint extract is awesome in beverages like hot tea, coffee, or even eggnog!

For Lemon, Lime, & Orange Extracts...

You'll need:
  • a pint-sized jar
  • lemon, lime, or orange peels to fill the jar (Use only organic for this reason.)
  • vodka to cover
Peel the chosen citrus fruit and remove as much of the pith (white part) as possible. Stuff the peels into the jar and cover with the alcohol. Shake daily for 2 to 3 weeks, then strain. Perfect for holiday candies, pound cake, or that fruitcake you've always wanted to make!

For Chocolate Extract...

You'll need: Combine the nibs and alcohol in the jar. Cover and store in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 weeks. Give the jar a good shake every day. Then strain the nibs and compost. Perfect for making your own chocolate chips or black forest cakes!

For Coffee Extract...

You'll need:
  • a pint-sized jar
  • 1 cup organic coffee beans, whole
  • rum to cover
Place the coffee beans into the jar and cover with rum. Allow to infuse for 2 weeks, then strain the beans, and compost. Great for Irish coffees or afternoon cordials!

Shelf Life & Storage Of Homemade Extracts

The shelf life of these extracts is fairly indefinite. Alcohol acts as a preservative and seldom goes bad, as long as you don't get water into it. The flavor CAN fade after a year, so only make what you would use in that time, or give as gifts.

Do you know how to make extracts? Which of these homemade extracts are you going to make first?

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