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How to make Extracts: Vanilla extract, Orange extract, lemon extract and Mint extract. So easy to make, you won’t need to use store bought again.

How to Make Homemade Extracts: Vanilla Extract, Mint & More! (Bold Baking Basics)

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Hi Bold Bakers!

I love the idea of making DIY versions of ingredients that you thought you could only buy in a store. What I love even more is when the homemade version is just as good, if not better than store bought; that’s exactly what you get with these Homemade Extracts. And there’s no doubt about it that there is something very satisfying about making and using them in your baked goods.

Did you know that for Homemade Extracts all you need is Vodka and your flavor and that’s it? So basically you can make any flavor your heart desires, as long as you have Vodka.

Do I have to use Alcohol to make extracts? YES. (You can make Glycerites using vegetable glycerin, this however is a different process).

But store bought extract aren’t made on Alcohol! Yes they are, and they usually use very low grade alcohol too.

Can you taste the alcohol? Nope! No No No. It is used in such small amounts that you can neither taste it nor will it get you drunk. Also remember that during cooking the alcohol will burn off.

Do I have to use Vanilla Pods? Yes, the pod and the seeds have all of the flavor. You can buy Vanilla Pods here.

How long do they last? Indefinitely. Store them in labeled jars and keep them away from heat and out of directly sunlight. The bottles I use can be found here http://bit.ly/2nwnh1G.

What are the benefits of making Homemade Extracts? It’s so much cheaper to make your own than use store bought. Also some brands of store bought extracts contain low grade alcohol AND corn syrup. They can be a mixed bag of ingredients which is not what you want.

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When you first make your Homemade Extracts they will look like this, no color and clear.

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After 5 weeks or so they will change color, developed a much stronger flavor, and they will be ready to use in your baking.

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Homemade Orange Extract can be used in icing, buttercream, custards and batters like cupcakes.

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Homemade Lemon Extract will make a great addition to cakes, icing, and even frozen desserts like sorbet.

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Homemade Mint Extract can be added to whipped cream, frozen desserts like ice cream and sorbets and even on a bowl of fresh fruit for added flavor.

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I am a Pinterest nut and I came across the idea for Homemade Extracts here on  Just Putzing around The Kitchen. She did such a gorgeous job that I even purchased the bottles (http://amzn.to/2jdfFPL) and labels she used hoping mine would look as good.

Do you know how many things you can also make like my DIY All Natural Food Coloring ? It’s easy to make and the results are incredible. Make sure to check out all of my Bold Baking Basics recipes.

4.9 from 16 reviews
How To make Vanilla Extract and many more
 
Ingredients
  • Vanilla Extract
  • 3 whole vanilla beans
  • Vodka (You can also use bourbon)
  • Mint Extract
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • Vodka
  • Orange Extract
  • 1 large navel orange
  • Vodka
  • Lemon Extract
  • 1 large lemon
  • Vodka
  • b]Almond Extract [/b]
  • 10 raw almonds, chopped (unsalted, untoasted)
Instructions
  1. Cut your vanilla beans in half, then split open each half to expose the vanilla seeds on the inside of the pod.
  2. Place cut vanilla beans inside your glass bottle.
  3. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  4. Seal tightly and store bottle in a cool, dry place.
  5. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  6. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract! (If you leave in your vanilla beans, when you start running low, just add more vodka and wait a little.)
  7. To make Mint Extract:
  8. Stuff mint leaves into your glass bottle.
  9. Using a chopstick, skewer, or other poking device, lightly bruise/crush the leaves inside the bottle.
  10. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  11. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  12. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract! (I’m not sure if, like vanilla extract, you can just leave the mint leaves inside. Since it’s leafy plant matter which disintegrates more easily, it may be a good idea to take it out. My leaves went from a vibrant green in the beginning to kind of a dull brown by the end so I took them out just to be safe – I poured my mint extract into another container through a sieve and discarded the mint leaves, then poured the filtered extract back into the bottle.)
  13. To make Orange Extract:
  14. Peel thin strips of zest from ½ of your orange.
  15. Place zest into your glass bottle.
  16. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  17. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  18. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract! (I think with citrus peels the acid (and alcohol bath), it’s probably safe to leave the peels inside the bottle like a vanilla bean for re-fill purposes. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, take it out!)
  19. To make Lemon Extract:
  20. Peel thin strips of zest from your lemon.
  21. Place zest into your glass bottle.
  22. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  23. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  24. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract!
  25. To make Almond Extract:
  26. Chop your raw, unsalted almonds small enough to fit in your jar.
  27. Place chopped almonds into your jar.
Notes
Replacing Vodka: just substitute the alcohol called for in any extract recipe with three parts liquid glycerin and one part water. A link to buy glycerin from Amazon is above the recipe.

You can also replace it with Bourbon

 

 

 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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225 Comments

  1. J.J. on April 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Dear Gemma,
    Thank you so very much for your videos!
    I am a total newbie at cooking/baking, although my gran was always trying to get me baking.
    She’s gone now and I regret not listening to her better.
    I love the things you make and the videos. I made the vanilla extract and did the same with almonds, although I did not chop them up first. I am confident they both will turn out very nicely! Gran would be so proud, she always used vanilla extract in her cakes.
    I have a question though. I tried to make pandan chiffon cake. It was a succes, but I was not succesful making pandan extract with water and pandan leaves. Do you think it could be an option to make it as the vanilla and almonds extracts are made? Like to hear your professional opinion about it. All the best from Holland!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 7, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      Hi,

      Really glad you like these. I have no experience with pandas at all unfortunately so I can’t advice. I honestly think it might work.

      Maybe someone can chime in who know a little more about it.
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Sadie on March 24, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Hi, Gemma!
    My family and I make vanilla extract every year to give as Christmas gifts, but I’d never thought about making other ones. I wish I’d found this recipe before last Christmas (vanilla was too expensive because of the cyclone in Madagascar). I’ll be sure to remember these.
    Sadie
    P.S. Can one make extracts with other herbs than mint? I’m starting an herb garden this summer and I think using things like rosemary in my baking would work well.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 25, 2018 at 4:45 am

      Hi Sadie,
      Yes, Madagascar suffered, as did so many places last year, not good for poor people to live through. This is of course the prime vanilla too, lucky when we can get it.
      Yes, actually Rosemary is a delicious thing, can be bruised and added to oils, with garlic too, it makes a lovely oil for salads/baking etc. Delicious sprinkled on focaccia bread too. It would also work well as an extract, though I am not sure how you would use it.
      Nice to have a herb garden, so lovely to have fresh herbs on hand for all of your cooking,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Bold Baker on March 23, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    can i repeat using vanila pods every time when i make the extracts?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2018 at 4:06 am

      Hi there Bold Baker,
      Yes! eventually they will be spent, but they do last a long time. I would pop the used ones into caster sugar to flavor that, so by the time I am done with them there is nothing left!
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Nemo on March 14, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Hey Gemma,
    Love your muesli bars, but this popped up in my search results for caramel extract somehow – do you have any tips for that?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Huh! Thats weird because Caramel extract would be an artificial flavoring the is man made. I don’t have a recipe for that.

      Normally it is something store bought.

      Gemma.

  5. Rani on February 28, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Hi Gemma

    I have two questions
    1) can I make this with white rum? I’ve read the comments and all, but they all speak of dark rum. What effect will this white rum have on the flavour?
    2) I was thinking of making a large batch (500ml) but I’m not sure how many vanilla pods I would need for it

    • Gemma Stafford on February 28, 2018 at 5:17 am

      Hi Rani,
      Actually there is little or no difference between white and dark rum. . Dark rums are aged in oak, which produces a more caramel color and richer flavor. That is it really!
      Gemma 🙂

  6. eula on February 22, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Gemma! I’m Eula from Philippines. I just want to ask one thing, if the vanilla extract has all been used, can I re-use the vanilla pod? Thanks 😀

    • Gemma Stafford on February 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Hi eula,
      Yes you can!
      I reuse these all the time. There is a great deal of flavor in a pod, you will know when it is spent!
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Darlene MacKenzie on February 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    was wondering if you have a rum extract recipe… us a lot of recipes that take this, and would like some homemade

    • Gemma Stafford on February 9, 2018 at 4:33 am

      Hi Darlene,
      My mum uses a dark rum, which she infuses with vanilla, to get a good rum flavor.
      Many of the commercial rum flavors are manufactured, as far away from the rum as you can get. Some recipes will take the rum, straight, like Rum BABA, or even Tiaramisu, but it is difficult to concentrate the flavor as such.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. alison on February 4, 2018 at 11:21 am

    thank you for your information. i dont know when i will get started on extracts but you gave me all the details i will need when its time. answered all my questions without me having to ask first. thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 4, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Glad to hear it, Alison 🙂

      Gemma.

  9. Uyen on January 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I’ve watched lots of your videos and thanks for sharing all these amazing recipes. My question is whether I can use rum instead of vodka? I just happen to have rum on hand.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 27, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Hi,

      Really glad you like this recipe. Instead of vodka people use bourbon as well. Hope this helps.

      Gemma.

  10. Rebecca Snider on January 16, 2018 at 3:12 am

    I want to make grape seed extract. Do you have to crush, bruise or leave whole the grape seeds ? I make my own scuppernong and muscadine wine and after removing the skins and seeds I thought maybe I could make an extract from them in lieu of throwing them away. Any thoughts? Grape seed extract is very healthy for reducing blood pressure.

    Thanks much.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 17, 2018 at 4:31 am

      Hi Rebecca,
      I am sorry, I really do not know!
      Generally I use extracts for flavor, and I imagine there is not much flavor in grape seeds. However I think if you mill them, dry them in a low oven first, and then process them, you should be able to use them in your breakfast cereal. There are a number of articles online about this, and I think it is worth taking a look at these, read as much as you can for the most comprehensive learning,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Habibamahdi on December 29, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Hello gemma actually i am a muslim so i am not able to use vodka and my age is small so i can not make it is there any substitute for that

    • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2017 at 4:49 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, you can make this with plant glycerin. I suggest you google this, this is called glycerite, and it is a different technique.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Habibamahdi on January 4, 2018 at 1:33 pm

        Thank ou so much ❤️

  12. Robin S. on December 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Can you make Maple extract? If so how?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 15, 2017 at 5:02 am

      Hi there,
      There are commercially made maple essences, but it is really not possible to make an extract as far as I know, I am sorry,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Brandi on December 13, 2017 at 9:04 am

    When using homemade extracts do you adjust the amount you put in recipes, like if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of vanilla do you put the full teaspoon or maybe a half because of the strength

    • Gemma Stafford on December 13, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Brandi,

      Whatever my recipe says go ahead and use that amount. My extracts are the same as store bought strength wise.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  14. Leslie on December 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Gemma. I’ve made both vanilla and mint extracts. The vanilla is pure perfections and I use it all the time, just replacing what I’ve taken out with fresh vodka. The mint, though, looks less appealing. The color of the liquid is a murky greenish-brown and darker than I expected, especially since the mint extract bought in the stores is perfectly clear. What could have gone wrong?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Hi Leslie,
      The mint you buy in the store is probably a distilled version, if it is natural. The mint leaves can be removed once the flavor is developed. It is important too to keep it in a cool, dark place. Bruising the leaves to allow the oils out will help with the flavor. The strength of the alcohol matters too, for fresh leaves the higher the alcohol the better 90% – 100% will be good. Read this article (https://www.wikihow.com/Extract-Mint-Oils-from-Leaves) it is detailed, and it may help to demystify this process,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. Kim A. on December 5, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Gemma,
    I make vanilla extract with burbon as well as vodka. To me, each has its own distinct flavor. I prefer the burbon in my cakes and pies.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2017 at 5:11 am

      Hi Kim,
      Yes, you are right, they do have a different flavor.
      My Mum uses a dark rum! This is really more like a rum extract, lol, but it makes her happy!
      Gemma 🙂

  16. elie on November 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Gemma ,
    do you have any idea how to make grape extract?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 19, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Hi Ellie,
      In a word, NO!
      Extracts work best when using a fruit which has a strongly flavored zest, such as citrus, or oils as in vanilla/coffee etc.
      I do not believe there is such a thing, even a manufactured product. I think if there were it would be a distillation, but really I am not sure.
      I hope you find what you are looking for,
      Gemma 🙂

  17. Kevinpleong on November 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Hi Gemma!!!
    Junior videos! Usually when you have links you post them under the YouTube videos description, however this time you did not. In your video you had said that we can find The bottles that you used for your extracts and food coloring on your website. I have looked in every unable to find the link to where you bought your bottles for the extracts and food coloring.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Hi Kevin,
      (http://amzn.to/2jdfFPL) here is the link for the bottles. I will go back and put it back with the recipe.
      I tend to direct people to the website for the recipes. It gives me more opportunity to give detail, and tips and I work really hard at it too.
      There are lots of extras there, extra recipes, basics etc.
      Thank you for pointing out the ‘missing link’.
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Millie on November 8, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I have made several of your recipes over time, and find your site quite fascinating for new recipes and creative baking ideas. I was just wondering if you knew of a way to make rum extract? or could recommend a good brand for purchasing? as would like to use some to make some truffles for this festive season.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated,
    Best wishes,
    Vicky

    • Gemma Stafford on November 8, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Hi Millie,
      I love rum! It is a great addition to Christmas baking, and my Mum always uses it in her Christmas puddings.
      If you follow my recipe here (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/homemade-extracts/), change up the vodka for rum, a nice dark rum would be great, pack up a jar with vanilla pods, and cover with the rum, allow to infuse, as in the recipe.
      You need to leave it long enough to do the trick. If you use a larger container you can remove the extract to a small container when ready and top up the jar again. Do try it, you can keep this going for some time.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Millie on November 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        Hi Gemma,
        Thank you for the great tips and advice will stock up on ingredients and give it a go 🙂

        • Gemma Stafford on November 10, 2017 at 2:26 am

          That is the idea Millie, worth a shot,
          Gemma 🙂

      • Myra Addison on December 3, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        You said when making the rum extract in a larger container, to “remove the extract and top off again”. Does this mean after setting for at least 5 weeks, poor off liquid, leave bean in larger container and top off that container with more rum? How many beans in a larger container should be used. For example if I wanted to make quart size container of vanilla extract, how many beans and how much liquid (of choice) should be used?

        • Gemma Stafford on December 4, 2017 at 2:52 am

          Hi Myra,
          Yes! Haha! I know this is not a great answer so more detail:
          For every 8 oz of spirit use about 6 vanilla beans. Split them for best flavor.
          There are 32 fluid ounces in a quart. This means you would use 24 beans, though 20 if they are good plump beans, should be good.
          Yes, decant the liquid extract, then top up, that is until the beans are submerged for round two. You can also add any spent beans, those whose seeds have been use in other recipes, to this. Top up to cover well, this will not go on forever, but will be good for a few rounds if you add a few more beans every time.
          Try it! Sieve the extract for a clear liquid, and return the seeds to the jar too.
          Thank you for this question, it will inform others,
          Gemma 🙂

  19. Kevinpleong on November 7, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Could you please leave a link to the extract bottles you bought? I am not sure where to look to buy them. You had said that it was posted here on your Bigger Bolder Baking Website but I am still having trouble finding it.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Kevin,
      Apologies, it seems not to be there. I will add it back. I need to find the exasct one, but here you will find a range: (http://amzn.to/2jdfFPL) this is a dark bottle, ideal too!
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Mariam on October 27, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Greetings from Greece.
    I really like your recipes! Thank you for all the videos and of course for the acces to your recipes. Congratulations for your good work. Your Bold baking basics recipes seem really helpful to me, as we don’t have access to some ingredients (eg sour cream, cake flour..)!
    I wanted to ask you how could we make almond extract, but I noticed an older comment of yours, so I’m ok with this.
    I have already followed your technique and made a vanilla extract. Really works!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 29, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Hi Mariam,

      Thank you so much for your lovely message. I’m delighted you like my recipes.

      So I made almond extract by chopping up some raw almonds and leaving them in vodka for 4-5 weeks minimum. Because they are chopped your extract gets cloudy so you might want to strain away the almonds once the flavor has developed.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  21. Ana Lúcia on October 17, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Hi,

    I want to know if we can use these extracts in pot-pourri or other air aromatizers?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 18, 2017 at 3:36 am

      Hi there,
      NO! the ‘extracts’ used in oils are distilled, and the essential oils are found in the ‘steam’ gathered through the distillation process, it is a completely different thing!
      Gemma 🙂

  22. Salome on October 4, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I live in a country where vanilla extract or vanilla beans are extremely difficult to come by. The only thing I’ve come across is vanilla essence which has a clear color and a very strong smell. I’ve read online that I can substitute vanilla extract with maple syrup but unfortunately, maple syrup is also a rarity here. Could you suggest anything I could substitute for vanilla extract or should I just leave it out from the recipes? Since almost every recipe calls for vanilla extract I’m at a loss for what to do! Thank you so much in advance.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2017 at 1:32 am

      Hi Salome,
      did you find vanilla beans/pods in your store or market? sometimes you can find them at good value.
      Vanilla essence is just that, an artificial vanilla flavor, which was widely used around the world. it was what we had available in Ireland too until recent times. It is ok, it will add a little flavor, but I would leave it out all together, it is not necessary. Maple syrup is not really an alternative to vanilla, so you can just proceed without it.
      I hope this will help you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Salome on October 4, 2017 at 1:42 am

        Thank you! And thank you for your website. It’s such a help!

  23. Chandan Chandu on October 1, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Strawberry can I make it with strawberries?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2017 at 2:44 am

      Hi Chandan,
      Thank you for bein in touch.
      No! The flavor in strawberries is not concentrated enough to distill at home into an extract, it would be a whole different technique.
      The best way to use strawberries for flavor is to make a coulis, or a sauce, and incorporate this. Strawberries freeze very well to, so can be preserved in this way too,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Sandie Roberts on September 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Gemma ,
    Can you tell me if you can make Lavender extract this way? or how to make rose water? Neither of these are available within 100 miles of where I live and They are really expensive to buy online

    • Gemma Stafford on September 30, 2017 at 5:15 am

      Yes you can, just put a few stalks of lavender into the vodka. Also for rose water I put leaves from a geranium plant (aka rose geranium) into vodka. Possible you could just use rose petals too.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  25. Karla Calonia on September 19, 2017 at 5:35 am

    hi gemma i’m so thankfull when i recreate one of your recipe i don’ t really have vanilla extract so i just researched it on google but finally your teaching me how to! thanks gemma

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Hope you make it. I use so much in my baking so it is so much more cost effective for me to make my own. 🙂

  26. Maria Armstrong on September 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I love your recipes , specially the fondant one , and by the way…I also love your accent!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Thank you and thank you, Maria. i’m delighted you like my recipes 🙂

      Gemma.

  27. Reinhard Lily Venzke on August 27, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Hey gemma
    Can i make cinnamon extract? I really love cinnamon. I want to use it everywhere eg shampoo, floor cleaner etc.

    Ps. I love your videos and website. I learn Alot every single time. Thank you for doing and sharing what you love.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 27, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Hmm I’m not sure about cinnamon. It might just be adding cinnamon into the alcohol.

      I’m really delighted you like recipes. Thank you for being a part of the community 🙂

      Gemma.

  28. Alison on August 15, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Hi can you tell me where i can buy the little bottles from plese and also would i be able to put coffee and vodka together to make coffee extract x

    • Gemma Stafford on August 18, 2017 at 2:33 am

      Hi Alison,
      There is a huge rangs of this type of bottle here (http://amzn.to/2vJ4NNl).
      I find these in other places too, the Dollar/Euro discount type store is a great place for this type of thing, and even the supermarket at times, so keep an eye out!
      Coffee extract is entirely possible. for this I would use re-use a jar, which you have sterilized in boiling water, or a medium preserving jar.
      Use a pestle and mortar, or lightly grind coffee beans. 1/2 fill the jar, and top up with the vodka to cover. Shake the jar every day, you will see the color developing, and the flavor too. When you are happy with it you can strain it well and bottle it.
      For cakes, instant coffee powder, dissolved in very little hot water will give you a great flavor!
      Gemma 🙂

      • susie m. bell on December 10, 2017 at 6:36 am

        what size bottle is this for the flavorings?

        • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2017 at 3:54 am

          Hi Susie,
          The size of bottle you use to make this is not necessarily the one you will store it in.
          (http://bit.ly/2nwnh1G) here is the link to the storage bottles I use, I tend to make the extracts in bigger batches and then strain, top up the ‘mother’ batch, and start again, I do use a lot of Vanilla in particular.
          Gemma 🙂

  29. Retha A Bruff on July 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    HI Gemma,
    I have been trying to find a peach flavoring, no success. Someone suggested I try making my own. So I Googled, found you.? So is it possible to do a peach extract? And if so how would I do this?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 18, 2017 at 1:54 am

      Hi Retha,
      The problem is that the flavor is light. Extracts work best with fruits etc. which contain an oil/zest. this is where the strength of the flavor resides. Many fruits will have lovely flavor when eaten in the hand, but it is difficult to extract/distill this flavor. It is sometimes done in a laboratory.
      This type of fruit is best pureed, and used as a sauce, or a coulis and swirled through an ice cream etc. You can actually make a curd with this too to fill cupcakes etc. Do a little research and find a way to get the flavor you want. Thank oyu for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  30. Eli on July 2, 2017 at 8:25 am

    a frenid gave me Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky
    Can i use such whisky instead of vodka?
    thx

    • Gemma Stafford on July 3, 2017 at 3:08 am

      hi Eli,
      actually yes! it is perfectly suitable,
      Gemma 🙂

  31. asad_khan on June 18, 2017 at 12:53 am

    hello.
    can i use anything else , other than vodka, or anything related to alcohol ,
    as i am a muslim .

    • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2017 at 4:00 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, glycerin, that will do it,
      Gemma 🙂

  32. Karen on May 26, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I just wanted to know if there’s a specific type of Vodka I have to use for these extracts.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 27, 2017 at 2:17 am

      Hi Karen,
      No! most regular Vodka is about 40% alcohol content, and this is sufficient to preserve the extracts,
      Gemma 🙂

  33. Annette Reece on May 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Gemma, you are AWESOME!! I have been watching you almost from the start and I love ALL your recipes! I just finished making the sweet potatoe chips and they were so yummy! Then, I have spent the last couple hours looking at all your other recipes. I want to make the extracts; I love lemon and orange flavors (Plus Lime!!!!) and the ones you buy in the store are so fake tasting. I can’t seem to find the link where you bought the bottles and they look like just the right size. Also, its time almost to start storing up on my fresh frozen fruit, for my frozen yogurt and ice creams! 😛 Thanks for those yummy recipes, also!!!

  34. Rita on March 29, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I make vanilla in a wine bottle– Spray paint it and give as gifts

    • Gemma Stafford on March 30, 2017 at 2:34 am

      What a great idea, well done you,thank you for sharing,
      Gemma 🙂

  35. Kirk on March 28, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Hello,
    I substituded the alcohol with 3/4 glycerin and 1/4 of water. Can you tell me how long will it take to be ready? Also when I combined the water with glycerin the water wasn’t hot or warm, it was in room temperature or a bit colder. Will this influece or slow down the infusion of the vanilla’s perfumes?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 29, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Hi Kirk,
      Time, it takes time! The temperature of the water really does not matter. even coffee can be made with cold water if you leave it long enough!
      So, leave it to infuse, you will know when it is right, the color will change, and the scent will also change.
      This is not a quick thing, you may need to shake the bottle every day for up to 8 weeks before you will have a good strong flavor, good things come to those who wait!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Kirk on March 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

        Thank you! I shake it every day away from the sunlight to not worsen the extract. I want to ask also something else. The liquid is very thick. I cutted the vanilla beans in the middle to expose the beans from the inside but I didn’t poor them of like in other videos I saw. I believe that it will not work perfectly because many beans are “enlosed” in the main vanilla beans. So what is your opinion about that should I let it work or can I poor them of and poor the tiny beans with a knife and throw them inside the bottle to have a better mixture?

        • Gemma Stafford on March 30, 2017 at 2:25 am

          Hi there Kirk,
          When you split a vanilla bean you expose the seeds. This is done with a very sharp knife down the length of the pod, not through the center. This is sufficient to get the flavor. You can take them out and split them, but do not take the seeds out of the pod, it will be good,
          Gemma 🙂

  36. Eunike on March 23, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Hi, Gemma. Can I use Rhum to make the vanilla extract? Because I thought I have to use rhum to make that. Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2017 at 3:45 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, you certainly can. Any white spirit will do. If you get a local rum this will be great,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Eunike on March 24, 2017 at 6:14 pm

        Thank you so much for the info . I will make it later. 🙂

  37. Eleni on March 23, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Dear Gemma i have a question,if you can help me…last time a made homemade sugarpaste,i used my vanilla extract -i made this with vodka. It was the only think i changed in the recipe but the result was very very bitter. Do you believe that this was responsible for the failure? Thank you so much for the perfect recipes and techniques and tips you share with us!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2017 at 4:42 am

      Hi Eleni,
      I cannot imagine how this would have a bad affect on your sugar-paste! It really does not make sense to me. Extracts are always made in this way. Sorry, this is a mystery!
      Gemma 🙂

  38. Eve on March 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Hello,
    I made these extracts a few weeks ago, following your recipe. And,a few days ago, I put like 1-2 tbs of extract in my sponge cake. In the bottle, the smell was pretty strong but after baking the cake, I couldn’t taste the flavor of my extract.
    What should I do? Should I put more orange zest or should I wait a few more weeks? (It’s been 6 weeks already)

    • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2017 at 4:49 am

      Hi Eve,
      This flavor is best used in frostings. If you want a strong orange flavor, or lemon flavor in a bake it is best to use the zest of the fruit in the batter! The extract will be good in any frosting,
      Gemma 🙂

  39. indraja on March 21, 2017 at 10:24 am

    hii gemma,
    very nyc and useful recepies thanks a lot
    can we use this orange extract and lemon extract to make no machine icecream

    • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Hi there,
      sure you can! you can also use the zest of an orange, or a lemon and make a lemon/orange sauce to go through it!
      1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
      1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
      1/4 cup sugar
      1 tablespoon cornstarch

      Method:
      Bring lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly.
      Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for up to 3 minutes or until sauce is syrupy.
      Test this by dipping a teaspoon into the sauce and feeling it between your fingers, it will feel sticky.
      Serve with ice cream, or yogurt. You may also swirl it through the ice cream before freezing.
      Refrigerate up to 1 week in a sealed container.
      You could use fresh oranges, or limes for this too!
      This is for you!
      Gemma 🙂

  40. Sonia on March 18, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Hi Gemma, I have a question for you. How does the extract smell and taste like? Is it sweet? Or is it more on the alcohol side? Because, in my coutry we have vanilla extract and vanilla essence and they are very different in terms of smell and taste. The essence is very vanilla sented and sweet in flavour, on the other hand the extract isn’t. I use a vanilla extract in my baking because it’s in all recipes but I’m not sure If I feel the vanilla in it..

    • Gemma Stafford on March 19, 2017 at 5:51 am

      Hi Sonia,
      Extract is the purest form. Essence has a passing resemblance to the real thing, it is really more of a flavoring, not for me.
      The alcohol in any of these evaporates on cooking, it is not a worry for me,
      Gemma 🙂

  41. heba elassal on March 5, 2017 at 4:04 am

    hi gemma
    can u substitute the vodka with non alcohlic drink

    • Gemma Stafford on March 6, 2017 at 1:36 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, you can use glycerin if you can get this,
      Gemma 🙂

  42. Christelle on February 9, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Hi Gemma!
    I was just wondering if the homemade vanilla extract with vodka would be safe to use for dogs, in dog biscuits for example?
    Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 9, 2017 at 4:13 am

      Hi there, Does you dog like vanilla? most extracts have been made with a little alcohol, so perhaps he has already been having this, without your knowing it!
      You can make this using glycerine too, Your dog is well looked after!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Christelle on February 9, 2017 at 4:30 am

        Yes he does like vanilla. The vanilla extract I can buy in my grocery store contains caramel and sugar.
        I try not to use sugar in their bicuits, I only use natural ones like honey.
        I’m going to try your recipe! Thank you !

        • Gemma Stafford on February 9, 2017 at 6:41 am

          Ah! that is great that he likes this flavour, I am a big fan too. Honey will not do any harm either, these are lucky dogs!
          Gemma 🙂

  43. Lizzy mari on January 19, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Hello Gemma,
    I would like to make a big jar of the vanilla extract, 0.75l to be exact. I just wonder how much vanilla pods I should put in there because 1 is surely not enough. And wenn somebody has alcohol addiction and eats for example a piece of cake with vanilla extract in it, will it have any causes? Your videos are great and thanks.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 19, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Lizzy,

      So i also have a big jar made. You can add as many pods as you like I have around 10 in a large mason jar. You dont even need that many. Feel free to still use your pods for their seeds and then throw the pods back in the vanilla.
      The alcohol will not effect anyone. it is such a tiny amount. The alcohol burns off during the cooking.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  44. Seline on January 7, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Hey, Gemma! I wanted to make the mint and the vanilla l, but I’m not sure how many vodka should I put in because I’m gonna use different jar for the extract. Great recipe you have there, anyway!

    • Gemma Stafford on January 9, 2017 at 2:11 am

      Hi seline,
      If you are using a large jar you can cut the ingredients to cover the bottom of the jar, and then cover this with vodka, just keep the ingredients submerged, you can also top it up as you use it,
      Gemma 🙂

  45. Asi on January 7, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I love your gorgious simple and delicious receipies. I will try this home made extract. They are very usefull. Very great!
    I have problem, vodka ia very much expensive in my country, too expensive to make my own extract. But I am not sure to use vegetable glyserin, because as I know that is for cosmetic.
    Will you show us how we make home made Vodka? Please…
    Thanks a lot Gemma

    • Gemma Stafford on January 10, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Haha! Asi, I would be arrested by the police if I showed you how to make vodka!
      You need to use a dietary glycerin, make sure you find one which can be consumed. In some cases it is easier, and less expensive to buy your extracts ready made,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Kristian on January 10, 2017 at 8:38 am

        Dear Gemma,

        Have not been able to find glycerine here in Sweden. I’m off to Ireland for holidays – do you know if one can get hold of dietery glycerine in Ireland? Or do you have any suggestions? 🙂

        Kind regards,

        Krille

        • Gemma Stafford on January 10, 2017 at 8:55 am

          Hi Kristian,
          I am delighted you are going to visit Ireland, I do hope we are nice to you when you get there.
          Yo uwill buy glycerin in Ireland in healthfood stores, and rather oddly in Pharmacies too. It is not difficult to find.
          Gemma 🙂

  46. Nana Osei-Tutu on November 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Gemma! Can you please put up a picture of your homemade almond extract?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      I did not yet do this, You blanch almonds, chop them and put into a jar, cover with vodka, and shake. Leave for about 1 month, shaking it every day, then you will have almond extract. Use a wide jar for this one, it needs it for the flavor, Gemma 🙂

      • Nana Osei-Tutu on November 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm

        I thought we could make this extract with unblanched almonds as well.

        • Gemma Stafford on November 28, 2016 at 1:18 am

          Hi Nana, yes, you can make almond extract with un-blanched almonds, it will be darker in color. Gemma 🙂

          • Nana Osei-Tutu on November 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm

            Ok. Does the skin have to be off the almonds as well? Btw, I thought that live video of you making almond extract was fantastic!



          • Gemma Stafford on December 1, 2016 at 2:28 am

            Hi Nana,
            generally yes, the almonds should be blanched to remove the skins, or buy them skinless.
            Chop them finely, and cover with vodka. for nuts, coffee beans and such a jar may be best, measure in what you wish to use, perhaps 2oz, then cover with the vodka and proceed,
            Gemma 🙂



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