• How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Mint & Lemon

    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

    Learning how to make homemade extracts for cooking is really quite simple, and I’m going to let you in on how easy it is! Yes, most extracts contain alcohol and though I’ve seen alcohol-free versions, I haven’t been stoked about using glycerine as the solvent. Considering I use these extracts in small quantities, I don’t have a personal objection to the alcohol content but as always, your Paleo is up to you alone to dictate. In this post, I’ll show you how to make vanilla, mint and lemon extracts using the same basic method.

    How To Make Homemade Extracts?

    You’ll need some sort of alcohol to help extract the organic (carbon-based) compounds that actually make the scents and flavors from the chosen plant material—in this case, vanilla beans, lemon rinds and mint leaves. Did you know that when you smell something, what you’re really sensing are tiny organic molecules that diffuse through the air, attach themselves to the olfactory receptors of the nose and send nerve impulses to your brain? Through experience and learning, you’ve come to associate these molecules with the foods that emit these “smells.” For example, vanillin is one of the predominant carbon-based compounds that makes the scent you know as vanilla. And while it can be synthesized by a series of chemical reactions in a lab, I think you’ll agree that getting it from a natural source is always better.

    Small organic compounds like vanillin are chemically compatible with alcohol, meaning they’re soluble in it. When you make a homemade extract, you’re taking advantage of that fact. SCIENCE! For best results, remember to steep your extracts for at least 4 weeks before you use them and keep the plant material completely submerged so nothing molds.

    How to Use Homemade Extracts?

    I chose vodka for this recipe but you can use something like bourbon for the vanilla, which tends to pair really well. Use these extracts in any application you’d use store-bought extracts. How about using a dash of vanilla in my Apple Coconut Pudding or the mint in my Dark Chocolate Mint Coconut Butter Cups?

    My favorite reason for making homemade extracts is that I know exactly what’s in them. So many of the store-bought extracts contain added sugar or other funky chemical ingredients. These also make fantastic gifts!

    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

    How to Make Homemade Extracts – Mint

    Preparation 2017-03-28T00:00:00+00:00
    Cook Time 2017-03-28T00:00:00+00:00
    Serves 1     adjust servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup good-quality vodka
    • ~1 cup organic mint leaves, packed
    • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

    Instructions

    1. Pick the mint leaves from the tough stems and wash them. You want about 1 cup, packed.
    2. Add the leaves to the jar.
    3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the leaves are submerged completely.
    4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the leaves out and discarding them.

    by

    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

    How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla

    Preparation 2017-03-28T00:00:00+00:00
    Cook Time 2017-03-28T00:00:00+00:00
    Serves 1     adjust servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup good-quality vodka or bourbon
    • 5–6 whole vanilla beans
    • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

    Instructions

    1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans down the middle, lengthwise.
    2. Add the beans to the jar.
    3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly.
    4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results.
    5. Hint: If the level of the vodka drops gradually as you use it, add more for a continuous supply of extract.

    by

    How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Mint & Lemon

    Preparation 2017-03-28T00:00:00+00:00
    Cook Time 2017-03-28T00:00:00+00:00
    Serves 1     adjust servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup good-quality vodka
    • 2–3 lemons
    • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

    Instructions

    1. Wash the lemons and use a sharp knife to remove the outermost yellow skin. It’s okay if some of the white pith remains.
    2. Add the lemon skin to the jar. Use the flesh for something else or discard.
    3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the skin is submerged completely.
    4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the skin out and discarding it.

    by

    How to Make Homemade Extracts – Mint
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup good-quality vodka
    • ~1 cup organic mint leaves, packed
    • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar
    Instructions
    1. Pick the mint leaves from the tough stems and wash them. You want about 1 cup, packed.
    2. Add the leaves to the jar.
    3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the leaves are submerged completely.
    4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the leaves out and discarding them.

    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

    How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup good-quality vodka or bourbon
    • 5–6 whole vanilla beans
    • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar
    Instructions
    1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans down the middle, lengthwise.
    2. Add the beans to the jar.
    3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly.
    4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results.
    5. Hint: If the level of the vodka drops gradually as you use it, add more for a continuous supply of extract.

    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

    How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Mint & Lemon
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup good-quality vodka
    • 2–3 lemons
    • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar
    Instructions
    1. Wash the lemons and use a sharp knife to remove the outermost yellow skin. It’s okay if some of the white pith remains.
    2. Add the lemon skin to the jar. Use the flesh for something else or discard.
    3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the skin is submerged completely.
    4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the skin out and discarding it.

    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

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    How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

    Have you ever made homemade extract? Which one is your favorite?

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    26 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Mint & Lemon

          1. You can also order online at beanilla.com . Great site for many varieties of vanilla beans and other extract materials.

    1. This sounds great! I wonder if you could make coffee extract with whole coffee beans. It’s always so good in chocolate treats like paleo brownies!

    2. I’ve made my own vanilla before, but found that after I let it sit for almost 3 months it was perfect. It went a little sweet, and had no remaining alcohol smell. I love my alcohol, but not in my morning coffee. Trying a blood orange one right now.

    3. Huh! I never thought of doing this with lemon or mint. And now I’m I thinking of orange, lime, and maybe other citrus. I’ve considered doing this with cardamom or other warm, solid spices for a while though I keep forgetting to start that project.

      But I’ve been doing this with vanilla for a couple of years and OH it is LOVELY. I don’t slit the vanilla lengthwise, it seems to take entirely too much coordination. I just chop the beans into about 1/4 inch pieces, about 3 beans per cup, and shake and wait 6+ weeks. My 24oz bottle of vodka has been half used in the last 15 months so it might be time to start another one. :).

      The results of the vanilla, btw, are so good that a friend asked if she could drink some — we poured a shot’s worth into a glass, added ice & some coconut milk and my friend was very very pleased with her impromptu cocktail. (I’m not much of a drinker, so can’t comment personally.)

    4. Hmmm…you can finish your lemon recipe by making limoncello! Starts out the same way and is a fantastic aperitif 🙂 I started making my own vanilla last year and I’ll never go back! Hadn’t thought about mint but now I will!! Thanks for the tips!

    5. I made my own vanilla extract last year and it was amazing. Once you make your own, you’ll never go back. Enjoy

    6. Do these taste like alcohol? I am very opposed to use of alcohol and I want to make my own extracts but I can’t find any without alcohol.

      1. When you cook with it you cannot taste alcohol because it’s usually such a small amount. If you look you can find recipes that make homemade extracts without alcohol but I don’t think the flavor is as good. Just google “non-alcoholic homemade extract” and you’ll see some options.

        1. Actually, a lot of people like to cook with alcohol because it adds the flavor it holds (mint, lemon, ect) and burns the alcohol away, therefore if you cook with the extract you shouldn’t have alcohol in the end product, I learned a lot when dealing with old medicine

    7. I make my own vanilla extract, but never thought about the other two. What would you use lemon or mint extract in?

    8. Where can I purchase the 8 oz jars, I’d like to sell extracts to family & friends. I thought of using baby food jars but cannot fully clean out the covers. Any other ideas of jars I can use. I am excited about making mint extracts since I have lots in my garden – chocolate mint, spearmint and regular mint.

    9. Is there any way I can remove the ‘alcohol content” to use the flavouring safely for children? I want to use the mint in hot chocolate! Would boiling it take it away? Or would that effect the flavouring? TIA 🙂 x

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