We all know that the best food is homemade, and the closer to home a dish is, the more you can really taste the love and care that went into making it. We’re all familiar with how a meal made of homegrown vegetables, farm-fresh eggs and meat from the farmer’s market tastes just that much better, but what about more specialty ingredients— like, say, vanilla extract? Even THAT, you can make at home! Yes, really, and it’s easier than we ever would have guessed; plus, you don’t have to worry about the corn syrup that can sometimes make its way into store-bought extracts. Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking is showing us the DIY way, plus how to make mint, lemon, and orange versions. The simple secret? Vodka. Watch Gemma explain and show us how.



– 4 – 4-ounce bottles
– Vodka (or bourbon)
– 3 whole vanilla beans
– ½ cup mint leaves
– 1 large navel orange
– 1 large lemon

That’s it! All you need to do is put each ingredient in one of the bottles, fill with the alcohol, and wait five weeks. A lengthy process, but an easy one, and at the end— homemade extracts! For more detailed instructions – including frequently asked questions, step-by-step directions, and even a substitute for vodka, if you’re really determined – visit the Bigger Bolder Baking site. Have you ever made your own extracts before? Do you worry about what’s in store-bought ones, or are you OK with them?