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DIY Extracts

Maybe I should rename this blog “Shenanigans in the Kitchen” because that’s really all I’ve been up to these last few weeks! Experimenting with yeast, dehydrating fruits, whipping coffee and now, homemade extracts...lots has been transpiring in Sylvia’s kitchen!

This week, it’s been all about #extracts! I’ve made vanilla, orange, lemon and almond extracts.

Though the list of what you can make is endless, vanilla is a baking staple so that’s one extract I’ve made a few times before. Deciding to broaden my horizons a bit, I opted to add some citrus and almond extracts to the pantry shelf lineup. I tend to use those flavours a fair bit in cooking and baking and luckily, I also happened to have all of the ingredients on hand!

I would like to note, however, there are endless homemade extracts that you can make. Mint, coconut, berry, cinnamon, banana, coffee...there is a world of possibilities!

But how do extracts work exactly? Basically extracts are made when you add a flavour to alcohol. What differentiates an extract from an infused alcohol is time. Alcohol infusions require less time in comparison to an extract that will take at least two months until it’s ready to be used. Cool, eh?

While extracts are typically used in baking to infuse mild flavours into baked goods, there are lots of things you can do with them. You can add them to pies, mousses and even oatmeal. If you’re really feeling creative, you can even throw a splash into your morning coffee concoctions. Why not add a dash into homemade whip cream?! Frostings, ice creams, puddings, croissants… the list is endless! You can even add a sweeter extract to a savoury dish like baked beans!

Next question, how long will your extracts last? In doing some research, your homemade extracts should last for about a year. You should always make sure that you sterilize your jars as this also helps in making sure that everything stays on the up and up!

Prepping your ingredients for your extracts might take a lil bit of time but the entire process is not at all complicated or strenuous in the least. Plus, it’s so simple that you’re gonna kick yourself for not making your own extracts sooner!

If nothing else, make vanilla extract! That is sure to be used in 99% of all your baking recipes. Every time I add a splash of homemade vanilla extract to my cookies or cakes, I feel like I’m Ina Garten, and who doesn’t want to feel like a kitchen baddie?!

Try it and I guarantee you’ll never buy commercial extracts again!

. . .

DIY Extracts

* Makes 4 types of extracts*


  • 3 cups vodka

  • 1 vanilla bean pod, cut in two

  • Zest of 2 lemons

  • Zest of 2 oranges

  • 2 tablespoons almonds, blanched and chopped


  1. Sterilize small mason jars by boiling them for at least ten minutes.

  2. Add 3/4 cup of vodka to a mason jar and toss in one of your ingredients.

  3. Gently shake the contents of the jar and store in a dark, cool place. Every few days, shake the container so that the flavours can better distribute.

  4. Repeat the process with all other ingredients.

  5. The extracts will be ready to use in two months!

. . .

Have you tried making extracts? Aren’t they so much better than commercial extracts?


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