{ DIY CHRISTMAS } Homemade Orange Extract

Homemade orange extract is an easy D.I.Y. project that you can get started on now for Christmas gift-giving

It's that time of year again … If you're a DIY Christmas kinda person, then it's time to start thinking about what projects you need to get started now in order to have your gifts ready to go in time for the holidays.

This is what we made last year …

… and with nearly 65,000 page views, my limoncello recipe is the second most popular post on this site.

The year before, I showed you how to make nearly never-ending vanilla extract which is another highly viewed recipe here on Confessions of a Foodie.

This year, I present homemade orange extract. From cakes and cookies to meat roasts and my morning porridge, it's become a favorite flavoring agent. (I'll share a few recipes before the holidays so you can print up a little recipe card to give with your extract.)

Just as in making the limoncello, the most time consuming part is peeling the oranges thinly so you only remove the orange part of the peel which is rich in orange oil while not getting any of the bitter white pith.

Once that's done, you combine it with vodka and just wait. And wait.

And wait and until the alcohol has removed all of the oil from the peels.

Then it's a double strain through a coffee filter and fine mesh strainer and you're ready to bottle.

While you're waiting, here are a few suggestions to use up the juice from all of those peeled oranges:

In order to have your extract ready to bottle two weeks before Christmas, you'll need to get started no later than November 7th. However, the sooner you get started, and the longer you allow the orange peel to steep, the more fragrant your extract will be. No need to buy top shelf vodka. I bought what was on special when I happened to go to BevMo. For the 4 ounce bottles, I really love the price and customer service at Specialty Bottle Company. So much less expensive than a brick and mortar store! The labels are just round, waterproof Avery labels that I picked up at my local office supply store. I downloaded the In Design template from Avery and designed them myself. 

The recipe below will fill approximately six 4-ounce bottles using a ratio of 10 large oranges per 750 ml bottle of vodka so it's easy to double or triple the recipe depending on how many bottles you plan on giving. 

Yield: Approx. 6, 4-ounce bottles

10 large oranges
1 bottle (750ml) vodka

You'll also need:
1 gallon container
coffee filters
fine mesh strainer
large bowl or a second gallon container
6 4-ounce bottles with screw caps
small funnel
self adhesive waterproof labels

Wash the oranges well. Using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the outer orange part of the peel, careful not to get any of the bitter white pith. If you do, use the paring knife to scrape the pith away. Place peels into a large container that has an airtight lid. Pour the vodka over the peels and stir with a wooden spoon. Secure the lid and store the container in a cool, dark space for a minimum of 4 weeks, preferably 6-8 weeks. 

Wash and allow to air dry the bottles you'll be gifting the extract in. Once dry, replace cap and store until ready to use.

When steeping time is over, line a fine mesh strainer with a large coffee filter and place over a large bowl. carefully pour the orange extract a cupful at a time through the strainer, removing and discarding the peels as you go. This is a slow process but very important to make sure there are no impurities in the finished extract. 

Place the funnel into one of the 4-ounce bottles. Ladle the strained extract into the bottle stopping just below the neck of the bottle. Immediately screw cap on tightly and set aside. Repeat until all the bottles are filled or until you run out of extract. 

Design and attach labels. Store extract in a cool, dark space until ready to give.

Until next time … 
xo, ani