Today on Cooking with Ghostie, I’m going to show you how to make flavor extracts.

Now you might be saying, “But Ghostie, why would I want to make my own extracts?”

Who’s writing this blog, me or you? You’ll damn well learn what I tell you to learn.

Also, it’s a great way to have flavors you would not normally be able to find in a grocery store, as well as the more “normal” flavors like orange, vanilla, lemon, cinnamon, and the like. Love lavender? Crave cumin? Desire dill?  Make some extract. (Technically this process makes an infusion, but I’m calling it an extract because they are used interchangeably with store-bought extracts.)

Here is what you will need;

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This stuff.

– A clean jar

– The herbs and/or spices you wish to make the extract with

– booze

Now here is the labor-intensive* process by which these extracts are made.

Step 1.

Place the herbs and/or spices in the jar. I’m using a mix of four teaspoonfuls of peppermint and four teaspoonfuls of spearmint in a pint jar. You can use less, but the flavor will not be as intense.

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Like so.

Step 2.

Fill jar with you booze of choice.

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Like so.

I’m using vodka since it’s “tasteless”, but you can use anything really. Lavender made with brandy, rosemary made with gin, vanilla made with bourbon;depending upon what you are making the extract from, your choice of alcohol can improve the flavor. Mother Dearest has made some vanilla extract using my good bourbon and it’s amazing. You can use the cheap stuff and get very good extract, but if you spring for the higher shelf stuff you can make some wonderful extract.

Step 3.

Put lid on jar.

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Like so.

Step 4.

Label jar with contents and date, and then put somewhere dark for several months.

That’s it.

You can make a stronger extract by straining out the material after a couple of months and adding more, topping off with more booze if desired, and letting it sit for longer.

Once your extract is at the strength you desire, you can use it in the place of store-bought when cooking. Just use your imagination. Substitute lavender for vanilla when making cookies, add a bit of rosemary and lemon when you roast a chicken, put some garlic in your bread dough, anything. I personally like to add a teaspoon of lavender extract to a glass of water; Mother Dearest says it’s like drinking perfume but I think it’s very refreshing when I get tired of plain water. It’s kinda like a homemade version of those flavored waters that are so popular now.

*Not really.

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