I do *a lot* of baking hence I use quite a bit of extract. Extracts can be so expensive to buy in the stores; $3 or more for a tiny bottle of extract. Because of this, I have started making my own. My very first extract that I ever made was vanilla extract. This year, I’m going to make four: Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, and Vanilla. I’m a little little nervous about the grapefruit extract because I don’t generally like the taste of grapefruit peel, I find it too bitter, but the cost to make homemade extracts is negligible so I’m going for it!
For the citrus extract: I just took the zest off of 2 lemons, 1 orange, and half a grapefruit and put them in their respective jars. Fill it up with vodka (90 proof), cover, shake, and keep in a dark place. Shake every so often. After a month or so, check the extracts. If they are at the flavor of your liking, strain and bottle. If you would like, if it’s too bitter, you can add a teeny, tiny bit of sugar to the extract.
For the vanilla extract: I cut the ends off of three vanilla beans and sliced them down the middle. I then cut them into fourths. I placed the bean in the jar and filled the jar with vodka, cover, shake, and keep in a dark place. Shake every so often. I don’t strain the vanilla bean when the extract is ready to use. When I bottle the extract, I keep a vanilla bean or two in the bottle.