extract questions

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mike192020, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. mike192020

    mike192020

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    ok so i am going to make some extracts out of some herbs so that i can use them a little cheaper than using the dried herbs. and i have a few questions to make sure that i will be doing it correctly.

    so i have been looking on how to make extracts and it seems like i need to use a 1:1 part herb/alcohol. is this correct? and how long do i let it sit?

    also once i make the extract how much extract do i use to equal an ounce of dried herbs?

    thanks in advance
     
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Mike, I'm not familiar with using herbs in that form for cooking, so can't help with that. But I'm a practicing herbalist, so can answer your other questions.

    First off, when herbs are macerated in alcohol they are called "tinctures" rather than extracts. If vinegar is used, they are called "acetums." But that's just a sidelight.

    Herbs have some components that are alcohol soluble. And others that are water soluble. So the menstrum is a combination of both. 90 proof vodka is often used, for instance, because it's close to the 50/50 water/alcohol ratio and doesn't add any flavor of its own. Or you can buy pure grain alcohol and mix it half & half with distilled water.

    Either dried or fresh herbs can be used in tincturing. Put the herbs in something like a large canning jar. Cover with the menstrum. Let sit overnight and add additional menstrum if needed (often the case with dried herbs, rarely needed with fresh ones). Store in a cool, dark place, agitating at least once a day.

    The process takes about three weeks.

    You ask about the equivalence of an ounce of dry herb. Whatever are you cooking that you'd be using that much of a dry herb for? That's an incredible amount.

    I have to point out, too, that not all the components---including flavoroids---are soluble in either alcohol or water. Some, for instance, are oil soluble. And others require sophisticated techniques to capture. For that reason, it's always better to use whole herbs for culinary purposes. I just can't see tinctures adding the same flavor.
     
  3. gerdosh

    gerdosh

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    Extracts are not easy to make in a home kitchen. Commercial companies simmer herbs in vast tubs to extract essential oil (these give the flavor) that float on top then remove this by either physical or chemical means. That is the highly concentrated essential oils. Many of these are available in health food stores; they are expensive but last forever. You only use a couple of drops for flavoring.
     
  4. mike192020

    mike192020

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    hi all thanks for the replys.

    the herbs that i am wanting to make extracts for is
    • sarsaparilla 
    • wintergreen
    • cinnamon
    • licorice root
    • burdock root
    • anise or star anise
    the reason why i am wanting to make these as extracts is because i am making root beer. and i use about an ounce+ of dried herbs (for at least the wintergreen and sarsaparilla). and i was thinking i can cut cost on the mixture by making the flavoring more potent and abundant cause buying an ounce of herbs for each batch really adds up, and if i wanted to sell it it would help bring down the cost of it to sell.
     
  5. mike192020

    mike192020

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    any ideas on how much extract to use per a dried oz of herbs?
     
  6. gerdosh

    gerdosh

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    Although I only tried it with vanilla beans, I would guess your ratio of herb to alcohol is about right. Let it sit several months undisturbed, starting sampling it in a month; when appears to have full flavor, you can either strain it or leave it as is, pouring off little at a time.
     
  7. mike192020

    mike192020

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    no ideas on the how much extract to use per a dried oz of herbs? even if it is herb specific or a general idea?
     
  8. homemadecook

    homemadecook

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     Actually my grandmother also did that but im not so off what kind of herb did she use . Very Nice idea .
     
  9. giraffic

    giraffic

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    Hi Mike, Gerdosh is right about the essential oils. I make my own perfume and hair care products so I use them frequently. They give GREAT flavor to foods especially in candy recipes ie:Wintergreen
    ~What is it that you are trying to make?
     
  10. homemadecook

    homemadecook

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    Wintergreen? you use this as a hair care product ? I not familiar of this herb but as what i have known some use this a flavoring ingredients ? ?Like what ?