Making your own extracts is really easy and they are perfect a perfect gift for the holidays.
I recently made some vanilla, spearmint and mint ones that I plan on giving to friends. You can customize them too, with different bottles, labels, etc.
I have to hand it to Mr. K, he didn’t even blink when I randomly told him at 10 AM that I needed vodka. He’s used to my crazy requests. Later that day, we went to buy a giant bottle so I could start making the extracts.
Of course I had to make vanilla, since I use vanilla in my baking all the time. I recently got some complimentary vanilla beans sent to me from Frieda’s Produce. I am loving the items they have been introducing me to, especially green dragon apples. They are by far the sweetest, juiciest apples I’ve ever tasted! If you find stuff on their website you are interested in, you can always email them to find out what stores carry it. I immediately emailed them and found out that Ralph’s carries their apples. I plan on stocking up soon and also using some for fruit gift baskets.
I also chose to use the mint and spearmint from my herb garden. I rarely use it, except in the occasional cocktail and both herbs have grown very well, nearly overtaking my garden beds. Speaking of gardens, we recently discovered that our backyard has become a hangout for birds. I can’t understand why. They don’t eat our fruit (though they walk around it and inspect the fruit trees). Instead, they just hang out. All day. It’s really strange and I don’t know if I should be shooing them away or what.
Making the extract is quite simple. You add your ingredients to the bottle and let the alcohol do the rest. It takes a few weeks to reach full potential, but you can always gift it early and let your friends know to wait a little bit before using.
When you first make it, everything will look clear and bright. After a few days, the herbs will lose their color and become more muddled, but it still looks pretty cool. I actually made some big batches in mason jars and then used a funnel to pour them into the smaller containers. I hope everyone who receives one this year will enjoy!
- 3-4 vanilla beans (split beans in half, lengthwise, so that the inside content is completely exposed)
- 8 oz vodka
- 1 cup spearmint (stems removed)
- 12 oz vodka
- 1 cup mint (stems removed)
- 12 oz vodka
1. For vanilla extract, add vanilla beans and vodka into a jar. Tightly close lid, then shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using.
2. For mint and spearmint extracts, add leaves and vodka. Lightly crush leaves while in jar, to let the oils out. Seal jars and shake. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using.
3. When extracts are ready, pour into smaller bottles using a funnel. You can add fresh mint leaves and vanilla beans before gifting.
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