Culinary herbal extracts


Have you ever bit into a piece of herb in a pasta or stir fry and you wish you didn’t get such a concentrated mouthful? Because herbs have such wonderful nutritional benefits, we’ve been making extracts using our own fresh herbs and grain alcohol. These herbal extracts can be used a teaspoon at a time in prepared dishes similar in the way you use vanilla extract in baked dishes. The benefit of using a liquid spice extract rather than the powdered spice is the avoidance of the heat needed to dry the spices.
All of these extracts were made from my freshly harvested herbs from fall 2015 through early winter 2016.
I followed the guidelines as written both in the below book of Dr.James A. Duke and his page on the USDA database.
My favorite go-to reference book is the “Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, Second Edition, by James A. Duke. An excellent online reference that reflects Dr. Duke’s thorough work with medicinal herbs can be found at the USDA page “Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

The turmeric extract was made with 2.7 ounces of raw, chopped turmeric in 4 ounces of 95% alcohol on February 15, 2016. Since that time I worked a lot more with the turmeric and have 30 plants who I tucked in for the mild winter December 2016. The fall of 2017 should hopefully be a big turmeric harvest year.

The spearmint extract was made from freshly harvested still slightly damp from a rinsing. There were 2.3 ounces of leaves to 5 ounces of 95% alcohol. After 6 weeks, the resulting extract was as nice as any commercial extract.

The proportions of the below pictured curly parsley is 1.65 ounces of cut parsley leaves to 11 ounces of 95% Alcohol to cover the leaves. The extract was shaken by means of replacing the loose fitting white lid with a rubber water proof lid for the minute of occasional shaking. After six weeks, the leaves were strained and the extract poured into brown bottles. The resulting leaves were very light colored and brittle.


UPDATE: January 28, 2017.  The extracts are a clean, vivid addition to any dish. Below are photos of the parsley extract being added to a broth.


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