We received a great book at Christmas called The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th ed. This book is "the original manual for living off the land and doing it yourself." 'Nough said.
One of the recipes in it was for making citrus extract. At the time that I started this project, I believe it was end of January, early February, and we had some oranges left from a bulk purchase made in December. And I thought, perfect! Between this recipe, and citrus vinegar, I'll be able to squeeze the life out of these oranges yet!
Citrus Extract (p. 382)
- Peel away the fruit's outermost skin, called the zest. (There's a special tool for this at kitchen stores.) Don't use any of the white pith.
- Fill a wide-mouthed bottle one-third of the way up with zest.
- Pour in vodka for the other two-thirds. Soak 2 weeks, shaking twice daily.
- Strain and bottle your extract.
- On zesting your citrus--I have a shredder that has three different sizes of holes. I had been using the smallest zesting holes, which took me forever. An actual zesting tool probably would work better than my awkward stand, I'd guess. I zested a couple oranges a day, then had to stop and rest, and did a few more the next day, just refrigerating my zest in between. And I kept zesting until I had filled my jar 1/3 full. I think I used 10 oranges, maybe? Later, my husband informed me as he zested a lemon, that the next size up of holes worked much easier. Lesson learned!
- Citrus to use--I only used oranges, but you could probably use lemons and limes, too. I don't think I'd use grapefruit, as I'm guessing it's probably too bitter. But I could be wrong, I haven't tried it!
- I was not religious about shaking the bottle, and I only recently strained the zest off, and it's been nearly two months. It smells good, and I'm looking forward to using it in... something. I'll figure something out.
- You could probably save up zest for a long time. We juice lemons often to make our kefir soda, and we started washing the skins well then zesting the lemons and putting the zest in the freezer. Then, whenever a recipe calls for it, I can pull zest out of the freezer. Lemon zest really adds a lot of flavor, by the way!