Did you know that it's really easy to make your own extracts from fresh herbs and fruits? These are great alternatives to ones at the store which may contain corn syrup or artificial flavors, and they make great gifts around the holidays! The basic idea is just to steep nuts, zests, or leaves in an alcohol that will absorb all of the flavors over time, leaving you with delicious flavors that are easy to add to any recipe.

These liquids can be stored in medium mason jars, or 2 oz. glass jars, with screw-top lids which make for good storage in small spaces or as cute gifts!

Hazelnut Extract
1 cup hazelnuts (toasted/skins removed)
1 split vanilla bean
3/4 C vodka

Directions: Add hazelnuts to a jar, add vodka, vanilla seeds, and vanilla bean. Close and infuse for 3-4 weeks, shaking once daily. Strain hazelnuts from extract, and sweeten the liquid with a dash of simple syrup, if needed.

Almond Extract
1 cup almonds (freshly ground, toasted)
1 split vanilla bean
3/4 C vodka

Directions: Add almonds to a jar, add vodka, vanilla seeds, and vanilla bean. Close and infuse for 3-4 weeks, shaking once daily. Strain hazelnuts from extract, and sweeten the liquid with a dash of simple syrup, if needed.

Lemon Extract
1 medium lemon rind (all white pith removed)
1/4 C water
1/2 C vodka

Directions: Chop up rind and pour it into a jar with water and vodka. Store in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lemon peel before using.

Orange Extract
1 medium orange rind (all white pith removed)
1/4 C water
1/2 C vodka

Directions: Chop up rind and pour it into a jar with water and vodka. Store in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the orange peel before using.

Peppermint Extract
1/4 C peppermint leaves (dried and finely chopped)
1/2 C water
1/2 C vodka

Directions: Place peppermint leaves, vodka, and water in a jar. Close and infuse for three weeks, shaking the jar lightly once a day. Strain out leaves before using.