When life gives you lemons, leap for joy! There are so many tasty lemony things to make with them after all. We don’t have any fruit trees in our yard, but on occasion a friend or neighbor will bring over extras. I just LOVE when that happens so I can come up with ways to use them all up and enjoy the home grown taste of fresh fruit.
This time it was lemons from my sister in law. We used them on fish, in “fancy” lemon water and then I started to get creative. A successful attempt at vanilla extract recently turned out even more delicious and much less expensive than store bought.
So I was off to figure out if I could make a homemade extract from all these lovely lemons. First task was to find a seal-able jar, and HomeGoods had this one on the clearance table no less.
Keep moving tip: Typically these little jars are available at Cost Plus for a reasonable cost. This time I just happened to go into Home Goods first since Cost Plus was closed.
Back at home, I went to town peeling the zest off 3 lemons with this handy Jokari Healthy Steps Citrus Pro 4-in-1 Multi-Tool. You could just as easily use a Microplane like the one in this link, or a simple paring knife. Focus on getting just the peel, not the white pithy part underneath. I used the citrus pro since the peels were much easier to get into the jar than zest would have been.
Once you are done, stuff all that clean smelling good lemon peel into your clean jar. Fill nearly to the top with Vodka and seal. Store in a cool, dark place like the back of your pantry for 4-6 weeks. Once a week or so shake the jar a few times and admire how beautiful it is.
When you can’t stand the anticipation any longer, try it one of your favorite recipes.
If it is strong enough for you, strain the peels and return to your cute little jar. If not, wait another week or so.
What will you use this lovely stuff for you ask?
I’m planning to use mine in these three recipes to start, maybe not in this order:
Vanilla extract is used in copious amounts in this house. I just love baking and typically double the vanilla in recipes. Since I also add it to smoothies, vanilla lattes’, foamy vanilla steamers, chia tea, sometimes even a splash in hot cocoa...it goes fast. This fact convinced me to try the homemade version although I’m notoriously impatient. That first batch was torture waiting the 4-6 weeks, I made it to 4.5 weeks and the result was worth the wait.
Here’s the recipe for the extracts for your torture, I mean pleasure:
Lemon peels from 3 lemons
6 oz. Vodka
Vanilla extract: sub 2-3 vanilla beans. Cut them down to side first.
These amounts are variable, add more to increase the intensity or store longer before using.
Looking forward to hearing what you think of this homemade, fun project. #keepmovingmama to show off your version on Instagram so we can see your results!
Enjoy, eat and please share. Keep moving mama.
Combining a love of real food, commitment to exercise, a home based business and a family without going over the edge is the balance I seek daily. There is a confidence that comes from combining these things into life.
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