"Learn by doing."

DIY All Natural Extracts

I have been on a breakfast shake kick lately and have been using a lot of mint in the shakes. It doesn’t take very long to strip a small mint plant of all its leaves, though. I needed a way to make my mint last longer, so I decided to pick all of the leaves and make mint extract with them. This way, I can use a bit of the extract in my shakes and make the leaves last a lot longer!

There are only two ingredients in a homemade extract: vodka and whatever you are using to flavor the extract. I bought a large bottle of the cheapest vodka I could find, and divided it up among six half pint jars to make five different extract flavors.

Each jar was first filled with the flavor of my choosing. Then, I simply poured the vodka over it and tightly screwed on the lid. Once every day, or every other day, I have to shake the jars. The extracts have to “cure” for 4-8 weeks before they are ready to be used.

Any alcohol that is at least 80 proof (or 40% alcohol) will work to pull or “extract” the flavors. Vodka is most often used because it is basically tasteless, odorless, and clear.

The extracts I made were:

  • Strawberry: contains chunks of strawberries
  • Cinnamon: contains about half a dozen cinnamon sticks (this one might be pretty potent)
  • Mint: contains all of the leaves off a small mint plant
  • Almond: contains a dozen almonds (Skinned almonds would be best. Mine still had skins on which might make the extract a bit bitter.)
  • Two vanilla beans: each jar contains one vanilla bean cut in about 1 inch pieces