I am sharing some citrus love with you. Here's an easy favorite citrus HerbCraft that's sure to delight your senses and get you rolling right into spring.
Citrus Peel Extract -- the Short Version Supplies: Brandy, citrus peel of choice, mason jar, cheesecloth, decorative bottles Method: Remove as much inner pith from peel as you can. Don't go nuts with it, just most of it will do. Chop peels into small bits. Fill mason jar 1/2 full with peel, add brandy to the top and stir up to ensure it is fully covered. Sit in dark place for as long as you can stand it 2 weeks at least. Strain and use when ready.
I've made this extract, which isn't really an extract actually but it's not exactly a tincture either so we'll just go with it for now, many many ways. So you know I think herbcraft is all about experimentation, and you can't ever really go wrong. But, I'll tell you a few of the things I learned while I was busy in my lab tinkering and you can choose where you'd like to start.
The Booze Brandy makes a great choice because the sweetness seems to balance out the bitter really well, but it doesn't pull out the essential oils quite as much so the flavor tends to be more mild and much more is needed. Vodka is a better choice if you are wanting a stronger peel flavor, but always gives it that medicinal bite. You could always add maybe 1/4 parts honey to the extract to take the edge off a bit. Rum is actually my liquid of choice for making the most superb extract. Bacardi 151, in fact, has made the most delicious of them all. It seems to have the perfect balance of extraction power and sweetness. And unscientifically, the higher proof probably pulls out more of the goodness from the peels.
The Peels Literally any citrus will do. Here's a breakdown of what I've tried. Lemon is brilliant, the meyers are the best. Light, sweet, and a bit floral actually. Navels are good for a strong bitter and big orange flavor. Grapefruits are wildly bitter but the extract makes a great addition to herbal bitters, summer cocktails and waters. Mandarins are by far my favorite. The perfect blend of sweet and bitter. Mandarin in 151 is the drug of choice for us.
The Method You can simply chop fresh and add booze. Really. I promise. But you can also: Dry, then powder in a blender and add booze. This way is harder to strain but the flavor is way different than fresh. You can add equal parts honey before or after straining to turn it into an elixir. You can also, of course, use vinegar for a wicked awesome salad dressing and summer tonic. Generally for good medicine one moon cycle is plenty. But to get a bigger flavor from the oils, the longer the better it seems for these.
How to Use your Citrus Extract You can use it in baking as you would the store bought versions. We like it drizzled over yogurt with a bit of honey. In sparkling water, especially with some chopped basil. To brighten up your tea. A must have for your herbal digestive bitters. ....you get the idea.
Love and Besos, Latisha