How to make an extract | Lemongrass

How to make an extract My friend Jen made an amazing vegan coconut ice cream for a food bloggers’ potluck a few weeks ago. It was a spring roll party inspired by this post from White on Rice Couple. Jen flavored the coconut milk with new-to-me lemongrass extract. After she told me it was fairly pricey to order, I decided it was the perfect time to try making extracts.

Kaffir lime and lemongrass extracts on Punk Domestics

I had a fresh stalk of organic lemongrass, and I’m also obsessed with the flavor of my kaffir lime leaves, so I decided to try making extracts of both. Extracts are technically tinctures, using bland alcohol to draw the essence out of the plant or herb. All you need is 80 proof cheap vodka, clean, fresh herbs, and a bottle.Pounding lemongrass to make extractI washed and dried the leaves, then pounded them with the end of this ice cream scoop to help them release their flavors and oils.Extract ready to go in the cupboard for a monthStick the leaves in the bottle, fill with vodka, label, and put them in a dark cupboard.Calendar reminder for extractI put this reminder on my calendar. You’re supposed to gently agitate the bottle once a day, but I tend to forget.

After 4 weeks taste the extract. If you’re happy with the flavor, remove the leaves with tweezers and store the bottles in a cool dark place. Can’t wait to bake with these. Yum on the lemongrass. However, the kaffir lime extract tasted HORRIBLE… like industrial-strength drain cleaner. Live and learn!

Next up, vanilla extract. Same process exactly, except you open the vanilla bean pod with a long slit, and use three beans per cup of alcohol. You can use vodka or bourbon. It takes two months for vanilla extract. According to Joy the Baker, you can replace the beans as needed and keep topping off the bottle with additional vodka or bourbon, for an endless supply of freshly made vanilla extract.

Notes: Hard liquor is always gluten-free.

I used kaffir lime leaves to make this Thai green curry paste, Thai-spiced twice baked potatoes, and this Thai rice bowl salad with kaffir lime cream sauce.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Wednesday essays, and Friday giveaways (when available).

Don’t want to make it yourself? Amazon sells lemongrass extract:

How to make an extract | Lemongrass
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Easy!
Prep Time
5minutes
Passive Time
4weeks
Prep Time
5minutes
Passive Time
4weeks
How to make an extract | Lemongrass
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Easy!
Prep Time
5minutes
Passive Time
4weeks
Prep Time
5minutes
Passive Time
4weeks
Ingredients
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Wash and dry the leaves, then pound them with a mallet to soften the fibers.
  2. Place in a clean glass jar and cover with vodka.
  3. Place in a cool, dark place.
  4. Agitate every few days if you remember.
  5. Taste after 4 weeks.
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Comments

  1. klye chew says

    Dear Michaela, Is Ethenol in the pure form more acceptable for extracting the lemon grass juice. What is the difference between the extracts and the oil distilates> Do I get the same effects if I use the extract or the distillate mixed with water and emultion to spray for controlling insects or pests like mosquitoes? Thank you and look forward to your reply.

  2. says

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  3. says

    I love that you used lemon grass and keffir lime, that would have never even crossed my mind! I usually order large amounts of vanilla beans from Tahiti, and have been making my own vanilla for a while now. I would love to figure out how to make the paste! These make great xmas gifts!

  4. Linda Watson says

    Brilliant! Some local farmers are starting to bring lemon grass to the markets, but I haven’t known what to do with a bunch. Love your reminder system too.

    • says

      Hi Michaela, you would have to Google that. I know there are natural flavorings that combine oil and sometimes glycerin. But an actual extract is a tincture, and the alcohol is key to extracting the flavor from the herbal material. Thanks for your question and if you find out more, let me know.

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