Wednesday, January 7, 2015

DIY Orange Extract Plus a Non-Toxic Orange-Scented Cleaning Solution

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Ever since my mother gave me a crate of oranges and other goodies, 
she's been helping me dream up recipes. 


She almost convinced me to try my hand at marmalade. Then she remembered an easier pound cake recipe that my Mimi baked every week. Our family never tired of it--in fact, we'd stand up and clap when she brought it into the dining room.
"You'll need orange extract," my mother said.
I had homemade vanilla extract, and a tiny bit of lemon, but I couldn't find orange. 
"Make  your own," Mother suggested. "Just use the rinds from that winter salad you made." 

I'll wait impatiently for the extract to steep, then I can make Mimi's cake.

 Homemade Orange Extract

2 oranges
1 cup good-quality vodka 
jars and lids

Peel and zest 2 oranges, taking care not to remove the bitter pith. Sterilize jars, then add zest and peel. Using a (sterilized) funnel, add vodka to the jars, just covering the zest. Cap the jars. Place in a cool, dark room and let steep for at least a month, turning the jars every day. When your extract is ready, strain the liquid (peel/zest, too) through a cheesecloth into a large sterilized Mason jar (or other jar). Discard the peel and zest (toss it down the garbage disposal).Transfer strained extract into smaller sterilized jars and seal. Discard after 6 months.

A few notes. You can leave the zest and peel in the extract, but the flavor may become too intense. Just check it frequently. You can cut the recipe in half or double it. In fact, good cooks won't even need a recipe. Just toss the zest and peel into a super clean jar and add vodka. Some folks use rum or even Grand Marnier (which has a hint of orange). Because I use orange extract infrequently, I bought small jars.

Homemade orange extract makes a darling hostess gift.




If you have leftover oranges, you can make a fragrant, non-toxic cleaning solution. I am allergic to most household cleaners, and I buy "all natural" sprays, such as Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day.
Just put the scraps in a large glass jar and add vinegar. If desired, add five drops of Essence of Orange Oil.  Put on the lid and let the solution steep in a dark, cool room for two weeks, shaking daily. [You might want to write down the date on your calender.] When your solution is ready, discard the peels and run them through the garbage disposal. Pour the solution into a spray bottle. And that's it! 


 Now that another Polar Blast is on the way, I may work up my nerve to make marmalade. 
Or a tangerine cake or a flourless orange cake. 
Something sweet and warm and sunny.




20 comments:

  1. Lovely post,thank you for sharing,a must try recipe I'll certainly try.

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  2. Your homemade orange extract sounds amazing and so pretty too ML. I guess it never occurred to me that you could make your own. How clever. I would have to put some rum in because I'm an island girl, but Grand Marnier sounds perfect too. Just remember, Mother is always right.
    Sam

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  3. I've been making vanilla for 35 years but have never made orange extract -- duh! Guess what I am doing today? I have everything it takes. And I won't be needing to buy the stuff at Penzys! When I get some lemons I may also make lemon extract -- (although I do make my own limoncello -- same principal except after you get the lemony vodka you add sugar syrup to it!) -- so do we get the poundcake recipe?

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    1. Yes, indeedy, I'll post the recipe. At the moment, Mama isn't sure about a couple of ingredients.

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  4. Can't wait to try this! orange is one of my favorite flavorings!

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  5. I have been at the beach coming on a month, I am missing my citrus harvest... part of my post Xmas garden advent was to celebrate citrus, one of a few days I didn't complete... in other words all this cheery citrus is making me so eager to get back home and play! Beautiful pics, it's the simple things that bring such joy~

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  6. Your mom is wise woman!...thanks for the recipe!.....and how great they make a wonderful gifts...your presentation is always perfection!...and I try to use an orange scent in my cleaning products...and thanks for the recipe of the cleaning solution!....I try to use the natural ones as often as I can!

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  7. Michael Lee, just looking at your beautiful photos takes me to Morocco where the orange trees line the sidewalks and the exotic fragrance wafts through the air. This makes me want to rush to the market and buy oranges. '-)

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  8. I love your Mom's practical, no nonsense away, Michael Lee. I also smiled at the thought of your Mimi bringing that orange pound cake to the table and all those sweet hands clapping. Doesn't good food just do that? Most of our happy memories revolve around food.
    Both the extract and the cleaning solution sound wonderful...I can almost smell them.

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  9. I just may try the cleaning solution. Could use instead of orange based goo gone. Yea!
    Sheila

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  10. What a lovely idea. Stunning photos! Have a great day.

    Patricia @ ButterYum

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  11. What fun - coming up with ideas to use the oranges! We use orange cleaner all of the time and this would be fun to be able to make.
    Hope you have a blessed 2015!

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  12. sigh, the perfect way I would live my life, full of homemade extract and fresh oranges~
    Jenna

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  13. I love the extract idea! I stopped using most commercial cleaners, and I love the idea of adding orange to vineagar -- genius! :) Thanks for hosting. :)

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    1. I will let you know how the homemade version holds up.

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  14. I generally keep orange extract, but still love the idea of making my own. I am definitely going to make this cleaning solution. I love a good citrus-y clean. I have made a lot of marmalade in my day. You'll need Seville oranges to make authentic marmalade. That failing, I think Meyer Lemon Vanilla Bean marmalade is delicious and relatively easy.

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    1. I didn't know to use Seville! Thanks. The Meyer lemon vanilla bean marmalade is going on my to-do list.

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  15. The citrus aroma is wafting my way and I love the idea of both the extract and cleaner! I need a dose of your January energy and enthusiasm, maybe the secret is in your oranges :)

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  16. Wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing!. I personally love the scent of oranges.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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  17. This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home. Sherry

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