Elixirs for Xmas: Homemade Lemon Extract

Believe or not, I think my family and friends are getting tired of getting the obligatory jar of jam for Christmas, so this year I wanted to do something completely different.

Elixirs for Xmas will be a brief series here at EE, prior to the holiday season.

Why so early?

Because all of these infusions have to meld together.   Today,  let’s make homemade lemon extract.


We traveled to Houston two weeks ago and my mother-in-law sent me back with a shopping bag full of Myer lemons off the tree in her backyard.   It was loaded.

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I figured I couldn’t get more organic than that, right?

These lemons are huge.   I got 1 tablespoon of zest from just one lemon.

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That is one good sized lemon!

Homemade Lemon Extract
from Common Sense Homemaking

1 organic lemon, zested (Don’t use the pith or white part)
1 t. sugar
1/2 c. 80 proof vodka

Place all ingredients in a sterilized glass jar.   Place on lid.

Shake the jar once a day for a month.  (Write the date on the jar lid with a marker so you can easily keep track.)  The flavor improves with age and you can leave this for up to three months.

When finished, strain through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a dark bottle.  Store in a cool, dark location.

Tip o’ the day:  When using extract in a recipe, 1 teaspoon lemon extract = 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel.

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When my mother visits, she often putters around my kitchen.   If she is staying with us during the work week, I often get calls from her at my office.

“Do you have any lemon extract?”

I don’t remember what she was making, but I got chastised when I got home.   “How can you not have any lemon extract?”  I just hate buying artificial flavorings, even when they say they are “pure.”

My mom is the inspiration for this elixir and I bet you can guess who will be getting a small bottle of this for Xmas.

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(“Do you have any lard?”   This was another question she posed to me over the phone during a visit.   Yes, she actually wanted some to make pie crusts.   I am sure they would have been much flakier with lard but she had to settle for shortening from my pantry.)

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