There are always a few things that you can learn to do at home to use up different foods or fresh grown herbs so they do not go to waste, one is make extracts. Its really easy!
I bake a lot around the holidays and to go and buy each bottle of extract/ flavoring I want can be expensive so why not save that money for a gift or something else and make your own all through the year, for way, way less than you pay at the grocery store.
Today I began my first pint jar of extract and it was so simple that I am sure to make all different flavors and the cost is minimal.
You`ll Need :
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of fresh mint
Vodka - 80 proof - Enough to cover the mint
1 - Pint Mason jar
Remove spearmint leaves from the stems and rinse in cool water, pat dry.
Chop up the mint leaves and pack them into a pint mason jar, chopping and smashing the leaves makes the oils release.
Cover with vodka, it takes about 1 1/2 cups to cover the leaves.
Apply lid and shake.
Put in a dark cool place for 6 -8 weeks.
Strain the leaves and put into cute tiny jars or leave in the pint Mason jar.
Since I was on a roll I also made Banana Extract, not knowing what the turn out would be I just made a small jar, a 1/2 pint jar so not to waste if it does not turn out good.
You`ll need :
1- ripe banana
1 cup vodka
Peel and slice one banana and place into the 1/2 pint mason jar
Cover with the vodka.
Apply lid and shake.
Put in a dark cool place for 1 week, strain banana.
How To Use Extracts
Most people will be thinking why so much Mint extract and what do you use Banana extract for?
I will use the mint extract for cookies and to make chocolate chop mint ice cream, for starters.
As far as the banana extract it will make your banana bread have a richer flavor and talk about an out of this world banana pudding?!
How much Does all this cost?
I bought the mint plant years and years ago, it comes back every spring, I think I paid $2.49 for the plant back in 2010. So I will say its free by now.
The banana was .44 per pound and I do not know how much one cost but it can`t be much, a few cents?
The bottle of vodka cost $6.49 (750 ML) I have used a couple cups and I have the same amount left so I am thinking I can get three to four batches of extract from one bottle.
I am sure I can manage to get another couple of extracts made from what is left in that bottle.
I paid $2.69 for 1 ounce of mint extract at the grocery store. I should get 16 ounces from the one pint, that`s $43.04 for a pint of mint extract purchased at the grocery store! By making my own I will save $36.55.
Now you know why I am making my own extracts and trying a few more ways of "do it yourself" in the kitchen items and make more for less.
How about you? Wanna try making extracts?
By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry