Thursday, January 29, 2015

Q & A: Making Lemon Extract and Lemon Zest

I recently received the following question after a reader read this post ... 

You mentioned making lemon extract from lemon zest or peels. Could you share how you do this?
First I wash my lemons in the fruit/vegetable wash found in this post.
If you have a zester, zest your lemons.  If you don't have a zester, remove the juice from the lemons and thinly slice them.

 Be sure to remove the white portion underneath the skin.  This has the tendency to make your extract and zest bitter.

After the 'white' has been removed if I'm making lemon zest (or if you used a zester and zested your lemons) I dry the lemon peels/zest in a warm oven, let the sunshine dry it  outside if it's warm enough or in a dehydrator.  Once the lemon peel/zest is completely dry, if I zested the lemons, I let it cool completely and store it in a container,  It is ready for use.  If I did not use a zester, I chop the dried lemon peel using a food chopper and stored it in a container.  It is ready for use.

If I'm making lemon extract, I do not dry the lemon peel/zest but add it to a half-pint jar.  I fill the jar almost full and cover the contents with vodka.  I fill the jar almost full because I want a real lemony flavor.  I let it sit for 6 weeks shaking a couple times a week.  When the 6 weeks are up I strain out the lemon peel/zest and start using out of it as needed but I also continue to add fresh lemon peel/zest to it as I have it, straining out the old used up lemon about every 6 weeks.  Like I said I like a really strong lemon taste in my extract, if you don't then the continuous replenishing of lemon peel/zest is not necessary.  When my jar gets half used I start another half-pint.

I hope this is helpful!

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  1. This is awesome! I never thought to do this with my lemons. I drink a lot of lemon water but just throw the peel away. Thanks for the info.

  2. Patsy, Thank you so much for the lemon extract info. I'm going to have to try this. I don't see why oranges and vanilla beans wouldn't work as well (separately). Love your new pics in the blog heading. Donna

    1. I make my own vanilla extra using vanilla beans using a similar process and yes, it would work to make orange extract as well. Thanks for commenting Donna and for your encouraging words!

  3. If you don't have a zester, you can use a peeler & peel the lemons before you juice them. Then, you can dry them or add them to the vodka for your homemade extract. :-)

    1. Great tip Steph! Thanks for sharing!


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