Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Home made extracts

Flavor extracts are a key ingredient in many desserts, especially vanilla. Orange is another flavor that I find myself adding to most of my recent recipes. Its just as easy to add zest but having an extract on hand is convenient when you are out of fresh fruit or don't want to taint the color of a cream frosting or white chocolate etc.

  • 2-3 Vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup - Vodka
  • glass bottle with lid/cork
  1. Pick a glass bottle that can hold a whole vanilla bean. Clean and dry completely. Place vanilla beans in the bottle and cover completely with vodka. Seal well and place in a cool, dark place in your kitchen. Give it a shake every day or so for the first week. 
Notes: Within 3 days you will begin to notice a light brown color and the extract was strong enough to use within 2 weeks. A month would be ideal but if you want to use it sooner start off with extra vanilla beans. I used 4-5 beans in my current batch and add more vodka as I use some of it. . You can use vanilla beans in the extract for recipes as well. They will be super moist and you can squeeze out the seeds easily.

Lemon/Orange Extract
  • 1-2 - whole organic lemons or 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup - Vodka
  • glass bottle with lid/cork
  1. Wash and dry fruit thoroughly before peeling off the thin outer layer. If any white pith remains, slice it off with a paring knife as they tend to add bitterness. Fill the bottle with peels and cover completely with vodka. Seal well and place in a cool, dark place in your kitchen. Shake the bottle gently one a day for 2-3 days. Check for readiness after a week or continue to steep longer.
Notes: Use organic fruit or fruit not treated with pesticides or wax coating since we will be using just the peels here. I wanted the extract to have a strong citrus flavor and used a high zest to vodka ratio. Some recipes I saw online suggested straining the extract after a month but I've had mine steeping for about 3 months now it had not turned bitter on me. But do check on your batch and strain if needed after you are satisfied with the flavor.

These extracts will immensely improve the quality of your baked goods. The flavors are strong and provide a depth that can never be replicated by store bought ones.  Thanks to Akshayapaatram for the tutorial and photos

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