Monday, November 26, 2012

Making Lemon Extract

In addition to Homemade Vanilla Extract, I made some Homemade Lemon Extract to give as gifts this year. I used the same cute 2 oz amber bottles from and designed the labels myself.

Making lemon extract is very similar to making vanilla extract, except it doesn't need to sit and process nearly as long and you use lemons instead of vanilla beans (obviously).

I found this recipe online and followed it mostly, except I roughly doubled it and omitted the sugar.  My recipe included the rind / peel of two lemons and roughly a cup of 80-proof vodka (40% alcohol).

I added the lemon rind directly to the vodka bottle
I used a potato peeler to remove the yellow part (rind) of the lemon.  I wouldn't use a cheese grater like other recipes called for since it means smaller particles that you're going to have to strain out later.  Make sure you don't cut too deep or you'll get the bitter white part of the peel.  I had a bottle of 80-proof vodka that had roughly a cup left in it so instead of transferring everything into a mason jar, I stuffed the lemon rinds into the bottle and gave it a good shake.
The lemon extract after sitting for about 6 days 
My plan is to gift the lemon extract with a recipe card for "Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake" and the dry ingredients to make the cake (a package of pound cake mix and the poppy seeds).  Before gifting it, however, I want to at least try it out to make sure it's worth gifting.  I'm happy using any excuse I can to bake and try new recipes.

The recipe linked above says to let it sit for about a month, but after only 6 days the mixture didn't smell like vodka anymore and had a strong lemon extract scent.  I think using a lot of lemon rind and less vodka than other recipes I found online.  I'm going to let it sit for about two weeks and then try the recipe to see how it works!  Look for an updated post in a couple weeks with the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe and comments on how the extract turned out!

In the meantime, I have the 2 oz bottles ready to go!  I designed a cute little lemon with a happy face to add to the label to make it a little more fun and less formal than the Vanilla Extract.  The label reads: "Homemade Pure Lemon Extract. ingredients: lemon rind, vodka, and a pinch of love."  The labels are adhered and the top tied with yellow and white baker's twine.  
The lemon extract bottles are ready to go!

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe card
If you like my labels and bottles, I'm selling them in my Etsy shop (DigitalCake) so you can save time by not having to design and adhere the labels to the bottles yourself! Custom orders are welcome (for quantity and to change the design and paper color).


  1. Nice, I wonder if orange makes a good extract?

  2. Hi Dan :) I think I'll try Orange next, it's just way too easy to make extracts!