By Erin Huffstetler | 06/02/2021 | No Comments
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Use dried lavender from your garden, or the store, to make a batch of lavender extract, so you can enjoy lavender-flavored cakes, cookies, drinks, ice cream and more. This is a quick and easy recipe with definite gift potential. I’ve even included free, printable labels that you can use to package it. If alcohol isn’t your thing, be sure to check out my non-alcoholic version.
Lavender Extract Recipe
What You’ll Need:
- 1/4 cup dried culinary lavender buds
- 1 cup vodka
- A pint jar
- 4-oz. amber Boston Round bottles (optional)
While all lavender is edible, I recommend using a culinary lavender variety in this recipe. Culinary lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, so it won’t make your foods taste soapy or medicinal. Most culinary lavenders are Lavandula Augustifolia (English Lavender), or what’s commonly referred to as True Lavenders.
If you’re growing lavender in your garden, and you live below zone 8, you’re probably growing a variety of English Lavender, which means you don’t have to look any further than your backyard for lavender buds.
Munstead, Hidcote, and Royal Velvet are a few varieties that chefs and bakers favor, but there are lots of other English Lavender varieties to try. Each one has a distinct flavor, so have fun experimenting. If you’re using a lavender variety for the first time, taste a few buds to see if you like their flavor. As long as they don’t taste soapy or medicinal to you, you’ve found a winner.
It should be noted that in general, Lavandins are not well-suited to culinary uses. They’re a hybrid cultivar developed to produce more oil, so their flavor tends to be overpowering.
As far as the vodka goes, I just buy the cheapest bottle I can find when I’m making extracts. You’re using it for its alcohol content, not its flavor, so spending more really won’t make any difference.
What You Do:
Measure lavender buds into the jar, and cover with the vodka. Stir to make sure all of the lavender is submerged. Then, screw on the lid, and allow the extract to develop for at least a month; longer is even better.
It’ll start out purple, but quickly turn brown, and continue to darken as it ages. Here’s what a finished jar looks like.
When you’re ready to use it, just strain the buds out, and decant your lavender extract into brown glass bottles.
How to Make Non-Alcoholic Lavender Extract
If you’re cooking for kids, or someone who either can’t drink or chooses not to drink alcohol, you can make a non-alcoholic version of this lavender extract by swapping the vodka for a mixture of food-grade liquid glycerin and water.
While you probably won’t find liquid glycerin locally, it’s easily sourced online. I buy mine through Amazon.
To make non-alcoholic lavender extract, simply mix 3/4 cup glycerin with 1/4 cup water. Then, use the resulting mixture in place of the cup of vodka called for in the recipe.
Glycerin doesn’t extract flavor as quickly as alcohol, so it’ll take longer for your lavender extract to develop. You’ll know your extract is done, when it’s as dark as the vodka-based extract shown above.
Extracts made with glycerin are referred to as glyerites. They’re a bit more syrupy in consistency than regular extracts, but they work just the same in recipes.
Glycerites, like this non-alcoholic lavender extract, are sugar-free and gluten-free. They’re also vegan, as long as you use a vegetable-based glycerin.
How to Use Lavender Extract
Lavender extract pairs beautifully with lemons, berries and chocolate. It also works well in cakes, cookies and muffins, where its subtle floral flavor is able to shine through. And it’s a fun ingredient to add to whipped cream, butter cream frosting, ice cream or drinks.
Use it in place of some, or all, of the vanilla extract called for in a recipe.
How Much Lavender Extract Should I Use?
Lavender has a strong flavor, so a little flavor goes a long way. Start by adding 1/2 teaspoon of lavender extract to your recipe. If the flavor isn’t strong enough, you can always add more next time. You just don’t want to overdo it, or your recipe may have a soapy taste.
What’s the Shelf Life of Lavender Extract?
Don’t feel like you have to be in a hurry to use your lavender extract. Both glycerin and vodka are excellent preservatives, so your homemade extract will keep for years. For the best flavor, aim to use it within four years.
Printable Lavender Extract Labels
Here are some free, printable extract labels that you can use to label your finished lavender extract. They’re designed to be printed on full-sheet sticker labels.
Many web browsers have their own built-in PDF viewers, but they tend to be buggy. If you’re having trouble printing or editing one of our printables, click here for help.
More Flavoring Extract Recipes
Here’s a video that I put together to show you how to make your own vanilla, peppermint, orange and lemon extracts, as well as non-alcoholic extracts.
And here are links to all of the extract recipes featured in the video:
- 1/4 cup dried culinary lavender buds
- 1 cup vodka
Place dried lavender in a pint jar.
Cover with vodka.
Screw on the lid, and wait at least a month before using.
- To make non-alcoholic lavender extract, mix 3/4 cup food-grade liquid glycerin and 1/4 cup water. Use in place of the vodka.