February 2, 2023

Lemon (or orange, or almond, or vanilla) Extract

I am striving all the time to buy less and less from the supermarket.  We use extract to flavour ice cream, icing and sometimes in cakes.  This is an easy recipe to make.  I have vodka in my cupboard as I often infuse it with foraged black berries or home grown raspberries to give away as presents.  The vodka for the extract does not have to be a expensive one but I tend not to use cheap ones as I think that you can tell the difference.  This extract will last for months in the cupboard if resealed. I also make almond extract in the same way using some blanched almonds or vanilla extract using a split vanilla pod.


2 large oranges or lemons (organic if possible)

1 cup of vodka

small jar or bottle with air tight seal


  1. Wash the skins of the fruit to remove any chemicals and pat dry.
  2. Using a peeler or a sharp knife peel strips of peel from the fruit, being careful not to get the white pith as this will make the extract bitter.  I find it easier to get long strips with the lemon than I did with the orange.
  3. Put the peel into the small bottle and add the vodka
  4. Seal the bottle or jar and give it a shake.
  5. Put into a dark cupboard and leave for six weeks, shaking it weekly.
  6. After 6 weeks it is ready.  Use sparingly as it is quite strong. I use about a teaspoon full in my recipes

What do I use it for?

I use some to flavour chocolate mousses, in home made ice cream, to flavour icing, chocolate cake, in some chicken or pork recipes, in brownies.   I guess you could also just throw a bit in a glass and add lemonade at the end of a hot day gardening.  You can not taste the alcohol and when cooked or baked in a recipe the alcohol burns off in the heat. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN just in case, and store in an airtight container in a dark cupboard. I have kept mine for 6 months or more.  I tend to take the peel out after about 10 weeks as I find that the taste goes a bit more bitter if I leave it.



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  1. Elizabeth November 21, 2023 at 9:38 am - Reply

    I make something similar called Preserved Lemons. My favourite recipe is Margie Beer’s, using lemons, a bay leaf and salt. Your recipe looks a little more versatile though.

    • ToniG November 21, 2023 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      I have seen preserved lemons. This is to add flavouring to baking without using chemicals. I have never tried preserved lemons. What do you do with them when you preserve them please? Thanks for commenting, by the way.

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