How to make your own cherry extract at home. It's so easy to make and the flavour is out of this world.
When the Sunday Supper crew announced we were doing Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen as our theme this week I may have jumped for joy. I mean just a little. I love giving home-made gifts so I knew this was going to be fun. The possibilities are endless when it comes to gifts you can give people from the kitchen. Cookies, bars, bark, snack mix, chocolates, bread, candy, alcohol and the list goes on and on. You can also make gifts in jars that the recipient just adds some wet ingredients to in order to bake, cookie mixes and breads are perfect for this.
Last year I gave away vanilla extract, vanilla salt, vanilla sugar, vanilla brown sugar and vanilla oats. I also did up some cookies in a jar for some people. Then I whipped up some Turtle Bark, Black Forest Bark, Coconut Bark, Hot Fudge Sauce and Slow Cooker Snack Mix for some family members. Yup, being in Lunie's world during the holidays is a good thing. And sorta fattening.
I made this extract eons ago. The downside to that is there is no fresh cherries to use as props in the photo. I intended to photograph this before I went out west. But I was too busy. Then I intended to photograph this when I returned home from the vacation of doom. But I was too sick. So I finally photographed this but the timing meant no cherries to add in the shot. Such a big old cherry bummer.
The upside to making cherry extract is it is so much cheaper than buying it. A tiny bottle of it costs a fortune. I love using cherry extract whenever possible in my baking. So I go through quite a bit of it. Making my own made good economic sense. Plus it was fun. I mean who doesn't love playing with vodka. It's how all good weekends start right.
Homemade Cherry Extract
- 1 375 ml bottle vodka
- 2 cups fresh cherries
- Pit and cut your cherries in half.
- Pour vodka into a mason jar.
- Toss cherries in the vodka.
- Give it a shake.
- Store in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks.
- Give it a little shake now and then.
- After 2 weeks time remove and discard the cherries. You can pour it through a sieve to remove any particles. Pour back into jar and store in a cool, dry place.
- Give as gifts with a big old cherry smile!
Yes I realize it's not cherry season. You may need to wait awhile to try this one. If you're wondering if you can use dried cherries, well, I'm on that. I've got a batch brewing as I write this. So stay tuned for results.
Hope you enjoy this. Thanks to our hostesss this week, Susan from The Wimpy Vegetarian. She really came up with the perfect theme. As always a huge thank you to our fearless leader, Isabel of Family Foodie. Make sure you stop by all the other Sunday Supper crew to see what amazing gifts they made for you.
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How did the dried cherry extract turn out?
Fabulous. I'll post the recipe at the end of this month with some other Christmas Gift Ideas I have happening. That way people can still make it for the holiday season.
How long do you steep the dried cherries? 2 weeks also?
Hi Ally. Yes, two weeks is good.
I realize I never posted the recipe for the dried cherry version so I'll make it this week then post the recipe for it.
Cynthia Caballes Papangelis
I will definitely try and make your Cherry Extract recipe as I need to use it as a flavour for my buttercream.
I would like it though to be in a liquid state, may I ask if you have pureed it after 2 weeks before?
Hi Cynthia. Thanks so much for your comment. You remove the cherries after 2 weeks. I clarified that in the recipe because I think it was misleading. Sorry for any confusion.
Basically you combine the cherries and booze in a jar for 2 weeks. Then you discard the cherries and run through a sieve. Pour the liquid back in the jar. Then you can store in a cool, dry place until you need it.
Thanks again for the comment.
I tried to make you homemade cherry extract, but I sort of forgot about it and left it for 4 weeks instead of 2. Is it ruined? can I still use it? and my cherry extract tastes sour.
Hi. I would probably make it again. 2 weeks is ideal for extract. I've forgotten myself when making extracts. Try setting an alert on your phone or computer as reminder. I usually write it on my calendar and set a reminder on my computer so I'm reminded twice. HA!
Hi, thanks for your reply and yes I threw away the old one (sigh... all those cherries). I am making a new batch now hope it turns out great this time.
Good luck. I love my cherry extract. Have you ever made coconut extract? I'll be sharing a recipe for that next month.
I can't find the post about the outcome of this recipe using dried cherries. Can you please provide a link? Or did someone else try the receipt with dried cherries and have information to share?
Hi Wendy. Yes, it does work with dried cherries. I'll try to add a new post for it in a couple of weeks. I lost the photos during a computer crash so I'll remake a batch so I can take new pics for a post. Thanks for the reminder.
What would the shelf life be?
Is fridge to cold to hold for the flavoring period?
Hi Paul. Just saw this. I recommend no longer than a year. Don't turn the lid too tight. I've heard of people having jars explode when they seal them super tight.
I wouldn't put it in the fridge during the 2 week flavouring period but you could certainly put it in the fridge afterwards. I store mine in a dark closet in one of our cooler rooms of the house. Try to avoid putting it in a screaming hot room. We have 2 rooms in our house that get hotter than the rest so I never store extracts in those rooms.
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions.
Do you know if the extract retains any of the sugar from the cherries? I'm on a Keto/low carb diet and can't have the sugar.
Hi Erech. I'm not sure if it retains much sugar from the cherries or not. I asked a Keto blogger friend (Mellissa from I Breathe I'm Hungry) and she said you have to count the alcohol sugar.
I've heard cherries are good for diabetes but not sure how they rank on the Keto diet. My guess is the sugar from the cherries is marginal if you're using a teaspoon or less in a sugar free recipe.
If push comes to shove and you want cherry flavouring in your extract you could always find a sugar free alcohol then add sugar free cherry candies or sugar free drink flavourings (like Torani or Da Vinci). You could use drink flavouring too (like sugar free Crystal Light or Kool Aid), or go to well.ca and check out their flavorings. They have a lot of healthy options.
If you need any more help just holler back.
Also, if you are doing Keto I highly recommend I Breathe I'm Hungry's website and cookbooks. I just got her new cookbook called Squeaky Clean Keto in the mail today. It's amazing!
Can you please clarify, do the cherries have to be just halved or can you do this with smaller cuts of cherry? I'm thinking more of the inside surface area exposed = more flavor. or does this not matter since they will be soaking so long in the alcohol?
I always cut mine in half and remove the pits. I don't think cutter them into smaller pieces is necessary because they soak long enough to pull all the natural flavour out of them. That said, if you want to try cutter them smaller I don't seem any harm in it.