Good Monday Morning to you all!
Today’s post is an exciting post full of four fun extracts that you make at home for Christmas gifts, or for your own baking cupboards! They take six weeks in your cupboard before use, and then you can just add to them from there. The longer they sit, the better that they are, and so now is the time to make them for an amazing gift for those family members and friends who love to putter in the kitchen.
I dont know if you have noticed, but with the prices of things creeping up, extracts have become more and more expensive, and the cookie platters we make every year for friends and neighbors have started to cost almost as much as just purchasing a gift for them would!
I saw this idea floating around over on the Canning for Christians Facebook page, and a few others. After a good amount of research, I decided to make three that I KNEW would work out, and one that I was not sure how it would turn out due to the ingredients I was using.
Here are the simple instructions for four different extracts, which couldn’t be simpler to make. 🙂
Vanilla, Almond, Mint, andÂ Cinnamon Extracts for Baking
Here is the collection of items you will need for making 4 pint jars of extracts. 6 Vanilla beans, 1 cup of almonds. 1/4 cup dried mint leaves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1.75 liter of clear vodka, 4 pint jars, a funnel, a coffee grinder, and 4Tbs of distilled water. Plus lids and rings to close off the jars when done.
Â Just place your cinnamon sticks in one of the clean pint jars….
Â Use 1/4 cup of mint leaves from your jar, or, if you dont have any, you can use six mint tea bags. Just put the tea bags in the way they are, after removing the strings and tags. My mint came from my garden, and this is my peppermint, which is stronger in flavor.
You want a strong mint to do this.
Â Next comes your 1 cup of almonds. Now, this one is my experiment one, because you are supposed to use something called bitter almonds, that makes true almond extract. But I thought I would try it since we use it all the time, and I had it on hand. You can either try it with me, or wait to see what happens in six weeks. 🙂 Use your coffee grinder and whir those babies around a couple times.
Â Not looking for perfect, but for banged around so that the almond is easier to penetrate.
Â I used a canning funnel to place the almonds from the grinder into the jar. Just less mess that way.
Next lets talk about the vanilla beans. I purchased mine from Olive Nation, which is having a free shipping sale right now. You need six beans for this recipe, but they last forever when stored well, so I bought a bunch of Madagascar vanilla beans. The smell when I opened the bag made me want to eat them right out of the bag.
If only I had smell-o-vision.
Â I cut each bean in half so they fit into the pint jars, and then cut right up the middle, leaving the ends together. After making this, did you know you can dry these, and then bury them in sugar and after a few weeks have vanilla sugar for baking or flavoring? Bonus! Its a two-fer!
Â All our ingredients in the jars, from L-R, top to bottom,
we have mint, almond meal,
cinnamon and vanilla beans,
that are halved and split.
Add 1 Tbs of water to each jar to help the water-soluable ingredients
better release their taste for the…..
Â Now for the bad boy of the whole process. 80 proof.
Clear. Smells…well, hardly at all.
Top off the jars with this stuff until it is all gone.
Dont drink it.
Well, I wouldn’t anyhow.
Â It uses the whole bottle to fill 4 jars.
Seriously. I did NOT drink any of this.
Cap the jars, give ’em a shake
Â (because you know you want to), and admire them.
Such hard work for such yummy extracts.
Because you KNOW you slaved over them, right? 🙂
Finally, stick them in a dark cupboard where you can take them and shake them once a day.
See my dark cupboard? LOL
Right next to the sink, and right in front of the orange vinegar I use for cleaning all the time. If you want to read about that, and how I make it,
Click Natural Cleaners.
That’s it. Six weeks, and you will have lovely vanilla, cinnamon, mint and (hopefully) almond extract for gifts and for yourself. I plan on packaging up mine in pretty bottles I can find all over, at the dollar store, thrift stores, etc.Â If you want to buy some, I found some neat ones here:
You can also find mint leaves there, as well as anything else you might want as far as herbs. I use them quite frequently, and their products are awesome. 🙂
Hope you have a wonderful Monday!
Many blessings to you and yours,
Glad to be linked up with Homestead Revival Barn Hop,Â
Teach Me Tuesday, Heart + Home Linkup,
Hearts 4 Home Link up @ Our SImple Country Life
Teach Me Tuesday, Heart + Home Linkup,
Hearts 4 Home Link up @ Our SImple Country Life
Neat idea! I’m going to add this to my “to do” list. Thanks! – Wendy
Thanks Wendy! 🙂
Have a wonderful day!
Thanks for this post. I went to the website you recommended and ordered the vanilla and then I plan on making the vanilla extract for the first time. My husband was wondering about the mint tea bags, he seems to think the leaves would be better than the tea bags, but what do you think? I am not sure where to get the leaves as I don’t have any plants. Love your blog and thank you for sharing, Have a great day.
if you feel better, you can certainly open the tea bags and use the leaves inside, or purchase some of your own (make sure to get peppermint, not spearmint). However, that is personal preference. I will have to strain some of my extracts anyhow, so you can certainly do the same thing. 🙂
You can purchase the leaves from the Mountain Herbs Link I provided above for the bottles. I purchase herbs from them. 🙂
Thanks and have a wonderful day as well! 🙂
Some health food stores/natural grocers will carry tea leaves in bulk- you might try looking for peppermint or spearmint there too.
Thank you so much for the info. I got my vanilla beans the other day and just have to go get the vodka. There is a wonderful place nearby to buy tea leaves in bulk and I am going to go there and get some peppermint leaves. This is the website, you can order from them online too. http://www.sensibiliteasonline.com/
It is located in an old Shirt factory (actually when it was in operation, my mom worked there putting in collars), really neat place. I had forgotten about it till the anonymous person above mentioned bulk. Thanks so much for all the info.Have a great day!! Love your blog.
Very neat! Thank you, Heather! I look forward to trying all of these!
I have friends who are well ahead of me on doing these and they are just raving about their homemade extracts, so I am excited too!
Thanks for stopping on by! 🙂
Thanks for the info, I have some vanilla beans on-hand from another recipe and now I know just the thing to do with them! (not sure about all that leftover vodka though. Yuck. LOL)
I would love to have you link up with us at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
I hope to see you there!
Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick
this is great, well written, and very simple. I just made catsup for the first time. This is going on my to do list.
Thank you for sharing. So glad I found you at Our Simple Country Life.
Peace and good to you.
Don’t drink the Vodka? Man, you’re taking all the fun out of it.
I LOVE YOU!!!
ha ha ha, all I can think of is the Drunk Cook parody I saw a super long time ago in college. Stay AWAY from the vodka, my dear…….far away. 🙂
(Although the vanilla vodka is pretty tasty when you are licking your fingers…Shhhh)
Blessings and love
How did your peppermint extract turn out? I’m getting ready to make some for the first time. I’ve done others before (vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, orange) but this is my first time trying anything, well, leafy. My girlfriend said she read that with peppermint, you’ll want to remove the leaves after only a few days. But your description suggests otherwise. I’m curious to hear about others’ results before trying it.
Also curious about the almond extract. How different is it from the store bought variety. As far as I know, you can’t get the type of almond used in store bought extract.
Sorry to be so long winded, but I’m curious. Thanks for the great post!
Good morning! I leave my leaves in a good long time because it makes for a much stronger end result than if you just do it for a couple days. My mint extract is done in about three weeks versus the others, which I leave for six weeks or longer. As I stated in my newest update on the extracts post (which you can find here: https://thewelcominghouseblog.com/blog/2013/11/15/why-making-your-own-extracts-saves-you-money-for-holiday-baking/ ), the almond extract was a waste and I was not happy with it at all. You need to use bitter almonds, which can be purchased on Ebay or a few other places, to create almond extract like we are used to, but then it is the same process from there once you have them.
I have now started creating combinations and had lots of fun with that (as well as delicious results) so I hope you branch out as well!
Thanks for the wonderful comment!
Blessings to you and yours,