Thursday, November 29, 2012

Extracts for Cooking and Gift Giving


   All my research through the old cook books in the family and on the internet bring me to state this:  Extracts are essential oils and flavors extracted from fruits, nuts, seeds and plants suspended in alcohol and used to flavor food.  

     They are used for the aromatic flavoring of foods. You can make a sugar cookie without vanilla extract, but without the complementing flavor and aroma, it tastes like a sweet soft pretzel.  I like sugar cookies to taste like sugar and orange cake to taste like oranges.  I like the house to smell like the food cooked here as well.   

     I make vanilla extract with South American vanilla beans.  I bought them at the local Seventh Day Adventist owned and operated organic food store.  I use the cheapest vodka I can buy and jelly and jam jars originally purchased at Wal-Mart.  They have already been used as jam jars.  

     They should be boiled to be reused and new lids need to be purchased. 

     I make a label with clip art from my computer to reflect the taste of the recipient of the gift. The label is pretty much a glorified name tag on the front.  On the back label, I include the ingredients, and a date of production with instructions if needed.
These recipes are no cook, just combine ingredients, store in a cool dark place for three weeks or so and shake the jars every 2 to 3 days.

Here are some basic recipes.  They make great gifts for the prepper and anyone else who cooks at home.  Add a festive holiday ribbon and it's a gift.

VANILLA
3 vanilla beans
½ cup 40% alcohol by volume vodka
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

LEMON
Zest from 1 lemon
½ cup 40% alcohol by volume vodka
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

ORANGE
Peel of one orange (navel) remove as much of the pith, white part as you can
½ cup 40% alcohol by volume vodka
Other ingredients that make a good gifting extract are, walnuts, almonds, roses (yes, for baklava), limes, onion, and chili peppers.  

1 comment:

cowboyfl1 said...

If all else fails, 80 proof vanilla flavored vodka will be a nice drink for the last stand.