Alcohol-Free Glycerin Extracts

Making homemade extracts is pretty easy to do, but we’ve figured out a shortcut—essential oils—to make some extracts even easier. Normally, extracts are achieved by steeping vanilla beans, citrus peels, fresh herbs (such as peppermint leaves), dried herbs/spices (including cinnamon sticks), or coconut meat in alcohol for several months. As it steeps, the alcohol takes on the flavor of the added substance and an extract is produced. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor tends to be.

We used the alcohol extract method to create this Homemade Vanilla Extract. Since then, we’ve learned that there are alternate solvents, such as vegetable glycerin, that can be used instead of alcohol. By using vegetable glycerin, we can create an extract that is alcohol-free and has a more pleasant taste. However, it is important to keep in mind that these extracts may only last about 14–24 months (whereas alcohol extracts can last 4–6 years).

Vegetable glycerin extracts usually use a glycerin/water combination and need to have at least 70% glycerin with 30% (or less) distilled water (if you are making extracts from fresh herbs, you’ll need to account for the water in the plant). The common ratio for herb to glycerin/water is 1:8.

To make most extracts, it is important to let the substance steep in the glycerin for a minimum of 4–6 weeks (preferably 10–12 weeks or more for a stronger flavor). However, we’ve found that if you use essential oils for some extracts, you can use the extract within days of steeping.

Essential Oil Glycerin Extracts

  • Servings: Yield=2 oz.
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) organic liquid vegetable glycerin
  • 10–15 drops essential oil (such as lemon, orange, peppermint, cassia or cinnamon)
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) distilled water
  • 2 oz. Glass Bottle with Black Lid

Instructions:

  1. Add glycerin and essential oils to the bottle. Screw the lid on, and shake to combine. Remove the lid, and add the distilled water. Replace the lid, and shake once more.
  2. Let steep for at least 24 hours before using.

Extra Idea:

  • If you would rather use alcohol for the longer shelf life, just add the essential oils to the bottle and fill it up with vodka (80-proof).


You can also use glycerin to make other extracts such as vanilla, almond, and coconut extracts.

Glycerin Extracts

  • Servings: Yield=4 oz.
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 2 vanilla beans (sliced open lengthwise and cut in half or chopped into smaller pieces),
    1/4 cup (21 g) coconut meat (freshly grated),
    OR 10 sweet almonds (skins removed and cut in half or chopped)
  • 6 Tbsp. (90 ml) organic liquid vegetable glycerin
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) distilled water
  • 4 oz. Glass Bottle with Black Lid

Instructions:

  1. Place vanilla beans, coconut meat, or sweet almonds in the bottle. Add glycerin and water to the bottle. Screw the lid on, and shake to combine.
  2. Let steep for at least 4–12 weeks before using. Shake as often as possible. The more you shake, the sooner it will be ready. (Your extract can be ready as soon as 2 weeks if you shake it at least once every day.)
  3. After 12 weeks, strain out the vanilla beans, coconut meat, or sweet almonds, and pour the liquid back into the bottle.

Extra Ideas:

  • You can make this recipe in bulk using mason jars and then place the final liquid extract in smaller bottles (such as the 2 oz. Glass Bottle with Black Lid) for gifting.
  • Check out these cute vinyl labels for vanilla extract.
  • If you would rather use alcohol for the longer shelf life, just replace the glycerin and water in this recipe with vodka (80-proof).

Don’t forget about gift giving during this holiday season! These little bottles of extract make a perfect neighbor gift!

Coconut Oil Tablets for Mouthwash or Oil Pulling

These coconut oil tablets are simple to put together and make oil pulling easy—just pop one in your mouth, and swish around for 5–20+ minutes. When finished, spit out in the trash (not in a sink, as coconut oil can clog pipes).

Oil pulling is said to reduce plaque and may prevent cavities. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and can help freshen your breath by killing the bacteria that causes halitosis (and cavities). Oil pulling gets its name because as you swish, you are pulling the oil through your teeth so it can reach even the hard-to-get spots that often develop cavities. Oil pulling expert Bruce Fife says that to maximize the benefits of oil pulling, it’s best to swish the coconut oil for 20 minutes. Even if you only use these as a mouthwash (and swish for only 5 minutes), you’ll still get a lot of benefits to your oral health from these little tablets.

Coconut Oil Tablets

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients & Supplies:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Essential Oil(s) of choice (see recommendations below)
  • Candy mold or small ice cube tray

Instructions:

  1. Place 1–3 tsp. (4–12 g) of coconut oil in each section of your mold or ice cube tray.
  2. Add 1–2 drops of essential oil per 1 tsp. (4 g) of coconut oil to each section. Use a toothpick or spoon to stir the oils together. Note: If you have a favorite oil or oil combination, you can simplify the process by melting down 1/2 cup (96 g) coconut oil and adding 20–40 drops of essential oil. Then pour or scoop the oil into the molds.
  3. Place the coconut oil tablets in the refrigerator to solidify.
  4. To use, pull out a coconut oil tablet from the refrigerator, place in mouth, and swish around for 5–20+ minutes. When done, spit the oil into the trash. Note: If you don’t like the feeling of oil on your teeth when you are done, try rinsing your mouth with a little salt water.

Essential Oil Suggestions:

Any of the following oils (or a combination) can be used for everyday oil pulling: lemon, orange, grapefruit, peppermint, or spearmint.
Any of the following oils (or a combination) can be used for oil pulling when battling a sickness or infection: clove, cinnamon, tea tree, or Protective Blend.

BlenderBottle® Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream

Don’t have an ice cream maker? Try making ice cream in a BlenderBottle®! It’s a fun activity for a family or small group. Just throw the ingredients in, take turns shaking it up until it gets thick, then freeze until solid and ready to eat. The ball whisk gives it a great texture and makes the mixing part easier. If you have a larger group, you can put your mixture in a few different pint- or quart-sized mason jars and move the ball whisk from one jar to the next until all jars have been shaken and frozen.

BlenderBottle® Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream

  • Servings: 2–3
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1–2 Tbsp. (15–30 ml) sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) raspberries
  • 1 drop lime essential oil (Lemon or peppermint essential oil would also taste great!)
  • BlenderBottle® with Ball Whisk

Instructions:

  1. Place cream, sugar/maple syrup, and vanilla in a BlenderBottle®. Shake until the mixture thickens and doubles in size.
  2. Place raspberries and lime essential oil in a glass bowl. Smash and mix them with a fork. Add the raspberry-lime mixture to the BlenderBottle®, and continue shaking until well combined.
  3. Remove the ball whisk, and freeze for at least 3 hours or until solid.
  4. Warm a spoon under hot water, scoop out your ice cream, and enjoy!

Coco-Cacao Mint Fudgsicles

Go ahead and repeat the title of this recipe—it is seriously so fun to say! Coco-Cacao Mint Fudgsicles (it’s pronounced “ko-ko kuh-kow”). Coco-Cacao Mint Fudgsicles. Coco-Cacao Mint Fudgsicles. Now keep chanting the name as you throw the ingredients in the blender. It’s almost as fun to say as it is to eat these yummy, healthy treats!

Coco-Cacao Mint Fudgsicles

  • Servings: 4–6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 can (13 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup (27 g) raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 2 Tbsp. (24 g) coconut oil (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) maple syrup or honey
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend like you would a smoothie.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds, and freeze for at least 3 hours or until solid.

EO-Flavored Water: Blueberry Watermelon Mint

Are you looking for a refreshing drink that is healthy and tasty? Try flavoring your water with essential oils and fruit. This blueberry watermelon mint combination is perfect for beating the heat during the summer.

Guidelines for Adding Essential Oils to Your Water:

  • Make sure to use an essential oil–safe water bottle! Glass or metal cups, bottles, and straws work great. Plastic should be avoided, especially with cinnamon or citrus essential oils.
  • This Natural Essential Oil Emulsifier really helps disperse the oils throughout your water. Just add 1 drop of emulsifier for every drop of essential oil. If you don’t want to use the emulsifier, then remember to shake the bottle to mix in the oils before drinking. When taken internally, essential oils can irritate the mucous membranes—especially when concentrated on the surface of the water—so make sure to add an emulsifier or shake the bottle really well before drinking.
  • Remember, a little goes a long way! If you don’t know whether you’ll like the taste, start out small—dip a toothpick in the oil and swish it in your water (the more you dip, the more oil you’ll get). A good rule of thumb is 1 drop oil to 1–4 cups of water.
  • Safety Note: Essential oils are very concentrated, and it is easy to overload the body if adding oils to your water every day. Occasionally is fine, but make sure to give your body a break in between uses.

Protect Your Plants with This Garden Spray!

Gardens are in full swing this time of year as plants are blossoming and many are ready to be harvested! But have you noticed that pests are getting to your plants? Get a step ahead with this garden spray that helps keep the birds and bugs away from your produce.

Once you make your spray, just spritz the leaves (both sides) and the surrounding ground. Before you know it, you’ll have gorgeous, bite-free leaves!

Keep in mind that it is best to spray on a cloudy day or in the evening so the sun and cinnamon essential oil combination doesn’t burn the plants. You can apply every couple weeks or as needed. If you wait 2–3 days after spraying to harvest any food, you shouldn’t notice any change in flavor.
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Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Summertime means lots of fruit, but sometimes eating plain fruit can get boring. Try this quinoa fruit salad to change it up and add a little protein to your meal! Serve this as a side or as breakfast. You can eat it as is, or add a little yogurt—either way it tastes great!
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Just Add Oils to Spring Cleaning

As the weather gets warmer, many people move into spring cleaning mode. Winter clothing gets stored away, windows are opened to air out the house, and lots of deep cleaning takes place as sunshine energizes the soul. A couple weeks ago, we held a contest and gathered many great cleaning recipes from you, our readers. The winner of our contest was Heather Crabill’s Counter and Appliance Spray. Heather says, “I spray my counters and appliances with the solution, and then I wipe with a warm, wet cloth. Friends and family always comment on how lovely the kitchen smells!”

Counter and Appliance Spray

  • Servings: 8 oz.
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 8 drops melaleuca essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 8 oz. Glass Spray Bottle

Instructions:

  1. Carefully pour the vinegar and essential oils in the spray bottle. Swirl to combine, and then fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water.
  2. Spray on counters and appliances; wipe with a warm, wet cloth.

A lot of great cleaning ideas and recipes were submitted to us. Here are just a few:


NON-CITRUS PRODUCE SPRAY

“I’m allergic to citrus oils. So for cleaning produce, I put tea tree [melaleuca] oil (8–10 drops) and cider vinegar (1/2 cup) in an 8 oz. spray bottle. Then I fill the bottle with distilled water and spray on produce to clean!” — Brenda Rupp


CLEAN SHOWER SPRAY

15 drops Protective Blend
5 drops lavender
1 tsp. white vinegar
8 oz. water
“Combine everything in an 8 oz. spray bottle. Spray down the shower and squeegee the glass doors when finished. Looks and smells great!” — Barbara Dittrich


TUB AND SINK CLEANER

“In a glass measuring cup, pour 6 oz. of white vinegar. Microwave to a slight boil. Use a funnel to pour the hot vinegar into an 8 oz. spray bottle, and then add 1 Tbsp. of Protective Blend Cleaner Concentrate and 3 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake well, and spray all around tub. Wait 2 minutes or so and rinse off. If you have stubborn stains, scrub with a brush. Also, I put baking soda into the drain first, so that when I’m finished cleaning, the drain also gets cleared out. This treatment is nice and easy to do, and if you do it weekly, all you need to do is spray and rinse.” — Nancy Jaykka


ANY ESSENTIAL OIL CLEANER

“I save all the dribbles left in my essential oil vials and use them in my cleaning spray bottle. I purchased a cheap bottle of vodka, and I add 1 oz. of that to the 8 oz. spray bottle. Then I put in my leftover EOs and top off the spray bottle with filtered water. This solution works great on counter tops and appliances. It will even kill gnats that get into the kitchen.” — Mickie


Here are some other great recipes to help you spring clean:

Click here for more essential oil cleaning tips!

Mint Chocolate Lava Cakes

“I lava you, and you lava me too!”

Nothing says, “I lava you!” more than these mint chocolate lava cakes! Give them a try—you won’t regret it.

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Coconut Peppermint Patties

If you are a fan of Almond Joys, Mounds, or Bounty bars, you are sure to love these sweet treats! We added peppermint essential oil to this well-loved and healthy recipe, and these taste just like peppermint patties! For an extra special twist, you could even try cinnamon essential oil instead! If your significant other likes healthy treats, this may be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for him or her.

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