Good Time to Extract

January 2nd, 2012  |  72 Comments

Hello again, Gorgeous. And, Handsome. Yes you. Happy New Year to you. I hope 2012 is your year, filled with all the things you wish for, whether it be job success, or attainment of personal joy and satisfaction. Or good pastry eatin’. I know I feel hopeful.

My guess is you’re all baked out from the holiday season. Maybe you just want to veg and recover from last night’s self-inflicted fun. I’m with ya.

So I say, all we have to do is prepare for next time. Let’s make some flavors, in the form of extracts.

After having bought one ten-dollar bottle after another of vanilla, I finally decided to grab some vodka and make my own. Not to drink. For the the extracts. Ok, so I had a little nip. Or two. Keeps the ol’ bones warm, yeah?

As long as we have booze, why stop at just vanilla. Let’s go to town and make a bunch. Many recipes use them, so why not have them on hand? Thanks to the powerful preserving qualities of 40 proof, they keep very well.

 

Today we have vanilla, orange, coconut and mint. There’s really hardly a recipe to speak of. All that’s needed is your main ingredient and the liquor. I like to use vodka because the flavor is so neutral, but feel free to use rum. And do play with other flavors, like lemon, lime, almond, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, or whatever springs to mind. All the liquor does is suck out the flavor of whatever you put in it. Perfection as a base for cocktails, too.

Speaking of saving your hard earned moolah, for some reason one sorry vanilla bean purchased in the store will cost you a ransom. I like to buy a fat pack for a fraction of the price, and keep it in the fridge. The beans stay moist and pliable, lasting for weeks. Also, these are the jars I used, perfectly sized for easy storage.

 

Flavored Extracts: Vanilla, Coconut, Orange, Mint

Even though the rule of thumb is, the longer you leave these alone to extract the flavor, the more potent they become, the exception is fresh herbs. In this case, the mint needs to be removed after about 2 days, or it will go black and bitter. The rest can hang out as they are for a good 3 – 6 months.

3 vanilla beans

2 oranges

1 small bunch mint

1 coconut

1 liter bottle of vodka

4 small jars with tight lids

1. Ready for extraction.

2. Split all the vanilla beans. No need to scrape them.

3. Pick the mint leaves.

4. Now for the dreaded preparation of the coconut. Take a clean nail, or metal skewer, a rather thick one. You can run it over an open flame for a second to disinfect it if it’s stainless steel. Whack it into the eyes of the coconut. Since these spots are pretty soft, it should go in pretty easily.

5. Drain out the lovely coconut water. Save it and drink it after a rough workout. They call it nature’s Gatorade because there’s lots of potassium.

 

6. Holding the coconut firmly in your hand, give it a few whacks on the center, circling all the way around the equator. It should start to crack open. If you find that it’s too unsteady in your hand, place it on a towel on a sturdy table and have at it that way.

7. Here are my dusty pieces. Take a small paring knife, and run it between the coconut and the shell. Be careful to run the knife AWAY from you, lest you stab yourself first thing in the new year. I don’t wish that for you.

8. Then peel the husky skin off these pieces and run them under cold water to remove all that coconut debris.

And grate on the large side of the grater. We only need about 1/2 cup. The rest is good for munching.

So satisfying to make your own fresh coconut.

9. All the oranges need is a quick peel of the skins.

10. Place each item in its own respective jar and cover with about a cup of vodka. I didn’t even measure. I just divided my bottle evenly among the 4 jars. Make sure they are well submerged. Remove the mint after 2 days. The rest can stay as they are for months to suck up the maximum flavor potency. The vanilla will get quite dark after a while, which is a big plus.

Use them as needed in recipes. When they run out, make some more!

Flavored Extracts: Vanilla, Coconut, Orange, Mint

Even though the rule of thumb is, the longer you leave these alone to extract the flavor, the more potent they become, the exception is fresh herbs. In this case, the mint needs to be removed after about 2 days, or it will go black and bitter. The rest can hang out as they are for a good 3 – 6 months.

3 vanilla beans

2 oranges

1 bunch mint

1 coconut

1 liter bottle of vodka

1. Prepare the vanilla beans: Split all the vanilla beans. No need to scrape them.

2. Prepare the mint: Pick the mint leaves.

3. Now for the dreaded preparation of the coconut: Take a clean nail, or metal skewer, a rather thick one. You can run it over an open flame for a second to disinfect it if it’s stainless steel. Whack it into the eyes of the coconut. Since these spots are pretty soft, it should go in pretty easily.

4. Drain out the lovely coconut water. Save it and drink it after a rough workout. They call it nature’s Gatorade because there’s lots of potassium.

5. Holding the coconut firmly in your hand, give it a few whacks on the center, circling all the way around the equator. It should start to crack open. If you find that it’s too unsteady in your hand, place it on a towel on a sturdy table and have at it that way.

6. Take a small paring knife, and run it between the coconut and the shell. Be careful to run the knife AWAY from you, lest you stab yourself first thing in the new year. I don’t wish that for you.

7. Then peel the husky skin off these pieces and run them under cold water to remove all that coconut debris. And grate on the large side of the grater. We only need about 1/2 cup. The rest is good for munching.

8. Prepare the orange: All the oranges need is a quick peel of the skins.

9. Place each item in its own respective jar and cover with about a cup of vodka. I didn’t even measure. I just divided my bottle evenly among the 4 jars. Make sure they are well submerged. Remove the mint after 2 days. The rest can stay as they are for months to suck up the maximum flavor potency. The vanilla will get quite dark after a while, which is a big plus. Use them as needed in recipes.

When they run out, make some more!






72 Responses to “Good Time to Extract”

  1. April says:

    How long is the shelf life? I noticed you said yours were still okay with the peels for months.
    Should I just go with the life of the vodka?

  2. PastryPal says:

    April — Yes, you can keep them indefinitely. As long as vodka lasts ;).

  3. PastryPal says:

    Sharda — Extracts are all pretty much the same process. I admit I haven’t tried every flavor in the world, but if you experiment with the ingredients, I’m sure you’ll end up with a good result.

  4. PastryPal says:

    Donna — I’m not sure what you mean about molding ground cocoa into shapes. If you clarify, I might be able to answer your question. As far as selling your extracts, I think you can, but I don’t know about where you live and the food safety laws. You’d have to research all that.

  5. PastryPal says:

    Sabrisayid — Usually people infuse vodka with fruit for cocktails, so yes, you can do it. You don’t have to peel anything. Just cut up the fruit and throw in the chunks, and remove them after a week or two. Taste your infusion to make sure it’s strong enough, and if not, leave the fruit in for a few more days.

    I’ve never tried cocoa beans, so leave it to you to experiment :). The process would be the same.

  6. Alexis says:

    Will the extracts be alcoholic?

  7. Jaime Windrow says:

    I was going to ask what brand vodka you used, but found two comments. You said you used Grey Goose in one and then in another you used Ketel One? Guessing your team of writers made a boo-boo?

  8. Lauwchen says:

    I’m also making my own extracts and it’s working very well! Exept for the peppermint. I left the leaves in for too long. Did you replace the leaves after 2 days to intensify the flavor?

    I’m making vanilla-, lemon-, orange-, and raspberryextract.
    I noticed that there was a weird consistence floating on top of the lemonextract. It looks like mould or something. (Can mould even live in vodka?). Can this be from insecticide or because I didn’t shake the bottles every day?

    I want to be sure it’s nothing bad before I use it.

  9. jane says:

    i find it very hard to get mint flavor in my place. mint is also expensive and just last week, i made salads with mint leaves and plant the leaf-less stalk in a pot hoping to grow them..and they did!!!.. i will definitely do this..THANK YOU so much for sharing.. I have one question though, what alternative can i use aside from vodka?

  10. ysol says:

    So what about using nuts. It’s so difficult to find pistachio extract and expensive. I ended up going with a cheap artificial one. It was fine but I’d prefer a real extract. I am going to try pistachios. Do you think it could work?

  11. Leyla says:

    Where do you keep the extracts while they sit? I’m making the mint one now. Also, I was wondering why the mint only takes 2 days. I read a lot of mint recipes sit arund for a month, will 2 days be enough? I have spearmint (not peppermint unfortunately).

  12. Matt mutayo says:

    so now I would like to know how to get the flavor in powder of any product

  13. Charlene Myers says:

    what do you think about orange zest and chuck of pineapple do you think that would make a good flavoring, for an Orange cream cake . Will the process be the same. just dropped the chuck fo pineapple and orange zest into a bottle of vodka.

  14. Laura Leigh Shore says:

    Do you know how to make rum extract?

  15. Laura says:

    I’ve just found this post while looking into making vanilla extract. Thank you for such a clear post that shows how easy it is to do!

    How long does it take for the extracts (other than mint) to be ready to use? I’ve seen some recipes that vanilla extract, for example, won’t be ready for 4-6 weeks.

    Thank you!

  16. JanJan says:

    Hello, I’m very excited about making extracts. I broght some clear bottles but now I read that dark bottles should be used. Does it matter if I use a clear bottle or dark bottle? What if I used dark bottles for vanilla extract and clear bottles for coconut, lemon, orancge & mint extracts?

  17. PastryPal says:

    JanJan — I have heard that vanilla extract can suffer some damage from sunlight, but if you keep it in a dark cabinet, it should be ok.

  18. Sarah Aiyegbusi says:

    Do you have to use vodka? Can you use water or rubbing achohle?

  19. CookinginPhoenix says:

    I had someone pick up vodka for me and they brought mr 100 proof, is this to strong or can it be used?

  20. PastryPal says:

    I think you should be ok. Just don’t take long, hard sips ;).

  21. john bunn jr says:

    SARAH!!! Careful with using the “rubbing” alcohol, isn’t that inedible?

  22. PastryPal says:

    Hi Sarah — John Bunn is right! Rubbing alcohol is inedible, and water doesn’t work either. It does not act as a preservative, so your additions will go bad.

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