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 2 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 6 half pint jars to make 5 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 pictured (from top to bottom and left to right) are:

  • 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.)
  • 2 Vanilla beans: each jar contains one vanilla bean cut in about 1 inch pieces

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