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Naomi's Culinary Extracts

I love to bake, especially with two boys in the house, I will need to bake and freeze my breads, treats and goodies. When you soak certain fruit in alcohol, the alcohol draws out the flavor and aroma. Aroma is a very important part of flavor. Have you ever noticed that when your nose is stuffy, food does not taste right? The same process is at work when making extracts. It is a matter of making a tincture. A tincture uses a solvent, such as vodka or rum, to extract oils, nutrients or phytochemicals of a plant.

Extracts are very expensive, expect to spend $10 to $12 on a six ounce bottle. One of the reasons they are pricey is because infusing the flavor and aroma takes a very long time. Manufacturers have to pay for shelf space and storage. I love to garden, harvest, and make as much as I can from scratch. I am able to make more diverse dishes and treats while spending only a fraction of the cost. I found a few wholesale supplier of nuts and seeds for my extracts. Nuts In Bulk and Oh Nuts. (Nuts in Bulk appear to offer the best deals) My products make great gifts, and if I stumble upon something that is very good, it might make its way to the local farmers market. 

So here is my current project: Orange and Vanilla Extract. Infusion should be finished May 1st, 2013. 

Many foods are soluble in alcohol and water. Sometimes you can use either Vodka or Rum with water. The extract will be perfectly fine if you add water. Natural vanilla beans contain hundreds of compounds which give it its complex flavor and aroma, it would make sense to use both alcohol and water as solvents (i.e., to use 100 proof alcohol). Different percentages of alcohol to water will tend to have different properties when it comes to dissolving various flavor and aroma compounds over a fixed period of time. Presumably, commercial producers of top quality natural vanilla extract have figured out the best mixture of ethanol to water for the vanilla beans they use, the extracting process they use, and the signature flavor/aroma profile of their extract.

For my extractions, I will be using 80% cheap Vodka with 20% spring water. It really does not matter what kind of Vodka you use, because the beans, fruits, or nuts you are using will take over the flavor. So go for the cheap stuff. 

After I made my extracts and photographed the jars for this blog, I placed them in a dark place. Light degenerates the extract, so keep it in a dark place for proper infusions. When the batches are finished, they will be packaged into small amber bottles from Specialty Bottles (my favorite supplier). 

Upcoming Projects are going to be:

  • Cherry Extract
  • Strawberry Extract
  • Lemon Extract 
  • Blueberry Extract
  • Chocolate Mint Extract
  • Peppermint Extract
  • Chocolate Extract
  • Coffee Extract
  • Orange Extract
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Almond Extract
  • Hazelnut Extract
  • Green Apple Extract
  • Peach Extract
  • Coconut Extract
Last night, I made: lemon, chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut extracts. I have to do cheery, strawberry, blueberry, almond, hazelnut, green apple and peach.

When I make the basic extracts, I am going to make some more complicated extracts
  • Pumpkin Pie Extract (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, allspice)
  • Chocolate Chip Mint Extract 
  • Peanut Butter and Chocolate Extract
  • Tropical Extract (coconut, lime, mango)
  • Turtle Cheese Cake

There is a lot to think about. 

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