There is something wonderful about giving things that are homemade. This year for Christmas, I gave all of the bakers in my family 8 ounces of homemade Vanilla Extract. The Vanilla Extract that I made was such a wonderful success. I have used it, both the run and vodka varieties, and I think that it competes with any high-end store-bought brand at a fraction of the price. To make the Christmas gifts, I had to buy a large bottle of vodka and a large number of eight ounce Jelly Mason jars. Since I had supplies left over, I decided that I’d like to make lemon extract. Lemon extract (well except for maybe Almond Extract) is probably the main extract that I use besides Vanilla Extract. It seemed to me that the Lemon Extract would be easier to make. (It is, by the way, but only a little bit less challenging!)
- An 8 ounce Ball Jelly Mason Jar (or something similar)
- Approximately 8 ounces of Vodka
- 5 to 6 Medium-Sized Organic Lemons (I had 5 regular and 1 Meyer’s Lemons)
First you will need to zest all of the lemons, so remove all of the rind using your zester. Be careful to get as little of the bitter portion of the rind (which is called the pith or albedo) into your zest, as you don’t want any bitterness in your extract.
The zest should make the room smell wonderful, as it is the most flavorful part of the fruit. Put all of that lemon zest into your mason jar. Then fill the rest of the jar up with the vodka. (That’s why I said approximately 8 ounces of vodka because the zest will take up a portion of the volume of the jar.) It won’t look like much yet, as it will be very clear, and smell like vodka.
To turn it into Lemon Extract, you will need to stick the jar somewhere and wait between 8 and 10 weeks. Occasionally, the extract needs to be shaken. I stuck the jar in the cabinet where I kept the spices. Every time I opened the cabinet, I’d pull out the jar and shook it a few times. When I opened the jar after 10 weeks, I had lemony, delicious-smelling Lemon Extract. All ready for my upcoming springtime baking projects. In case you were wondering, I took the “naked” lemons that I had zested and made dishes that called for lemon during the week. The life expectancy of a lemon without all of its peel is much shorter than a lemon with both layers of the rind.
What do you like to bake that uses lemons? I need a few more suggestions, as I have a lot of extract now.