We’re “crackin'” the code for Pressure Cooker Almond Extract today! Hiding deep inside a peach stone is the answer to sweet amaretto scented extract. Read on for the secret!
Caution: Never make Extract in a stovetop pressure cooker or near an open flame. My recipes are written for electric pressure cookers only. Always use a Natural Release, never a quick release.
I promised you my favorite discovery at the end of Pressure Cooker Extract Week, and now here it is! Pressure Cooker Almond Extract! This was not an easy recipe to “crack” but I finally figured it out. The secret to homemade almond extract can’t be found in an almond at all, although I tried very hard to make that so. I used regular almonds, blanched almonds, toasted almonds, but they all smelled like . . . well, nothing. So I gave up.
Then one day I ran into this article. Turns out the secret to good almond extract actually lies in the center of a peach stone. I didn’t believe it at first, but after I cracked open a peach stone and removed the white kernel from inside, one sniff told me I had found gold. It was the most dreamy smell, reminiscent of store bought almond extract, but so much more pleasant (this coming from an almond extract hater).
Rather than bringing home 20 peaches and opening them all at one time, I simply stored all the peach stones in a gallon size freezer bag in the freezer as my family ate peaches. For all of you who buy insane amounts of peaches for canning and jam making this time of year, this will be an excellent thing to do with your peach stones. To think, all these years we threw them away! It’s just plain sad how many glorious, fragrant peach kernels I’ve put in the trash over my lifetime!
Check out this quick video to see how Pressure Cooker Almond Extract goes down!
Couple of quick notes before you tackle your own Pressure Cooker Almond Extract:
The flavor of this extract for me is a cross between vanilla and almond. It’s not quite as abrasive as store bought almond extract but carries the same notes with a sweet, soothing smell similar to vanilla. It’s hard to describe, but I made Frozen Whipped Cream Dollops with it one day, and they were a raving success eaten just straight out of the freezer. It substitutes beautifully for anything you already use vanila for. The taste is not as powerful as store bought almond extract though and I found I had to use twice as much to get the flavor to stand out.
Cracking open those peach stones is no easy task. I tried it on my kitchen counter (bad idea), a vice I stole from my husbands toolbox (squashed my fingers and may have cursed once . . . or more), then finally discovered that the cement pad on my back porch was the perfect solution. So grab a mallet, a towel that you don’t like (it may get holes in it), and your frustration over kids smearing toothpaste all over the bathroom, and then crush those peach stones like a boss!
Add a vanilla bean to your almond extract. You will die of happiness and your friends will pay you hundreds of dollars for your “Top Secret Extract”.
I’ve read this can be done with cherry and nectarine kernels too, although I’ve never tried it.
The fragrance seems to vary in potency from one peach variety to the next and I haven’t quite nailed down which ones are best since stores don’t specify the variety. But I have a good feeling that sweet summer peaches are gonna be magical. Let me know if you find a good variety and I’ll update the post!
Sixth and Final Note
If you don’t already know, peach kernels contain cyanide which I was very concerned about until I read that many of the foods we eat such as almonds, spinach, black beans, soy etc also contain small amounts of cyanide. I read several articles, some of my favorites being this one and this one, and although somewhat comforting, I was still a bit nervous to post this recipe.
I found a lab that could test the amount of cyanide in my extract and here’s what was found-I’ll keep this simple and to the point. Basically a 100 pound person would have to ingest 2500-10,000 mg of cyanide in a day to be harmful. That being said, in 1 teaspoon of my almond extract, there was only 0.09 mg/teaspoon putting it far below dangerous levels especially considering if you used 1 teaspoon in a batch of cookies, you would not even be ingesting a full teaspoon of extract. My friendly lab tech said to be on the very safe side, the maximum daily intake should not exceed 0.6 mg, which is still quite a bit more than the amount per teaspoon in my extract.
The decision is still totally up to you. If you don’t want to go there, there are 5 other extracts this week for you to fall in love with and gift to your loved ones. At least after knowing those results, I feel at peace about posting this recipe to all of you.
Several people asked me to crack this code (and crack it I did, literally!), and I am so so thrilled to finally bring Pressure Cooker Almond Extract to you all!
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the many extract potentials made possible by the glorious pressure cooker. I’ve had a blast experimenting. If you do any experiments of your own, please let me know if you find any new favorites. I’ll give you a heads up by warning that coconut and cacao nibs are less than exciting and that freeze-dried bananas smell amazing, but go mushy and slimy.
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Pressure Cooker Almond Extract
We’re “crackin'” the code for Pressure Cooker Almond Extract today! Hiding deep inside a peach stone is the answer to the sweet amaretto scented extract I wanted.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes high pressure
- Total Time: 51 minute
- 25-30 peach stones
- About 1 cup Vodka (I like red label Smirnoff Vodka 80 proof)
- Gather a mallet, an old towel you don’t care about, and the peach stones. Place a peach stone on the towel and fold it over to cover the stone. Hit firmly with the mallet until it breaks open and reveals the white, almond shaped kernel inside. It’s okay if the kernel gets broken, just pick out the white pieces from the stone and place them in a Mason jar. Repeat with remaining peach stones.
- Once all the kernels are in the jar, add vodka, leaving 1 ½-2 inches of headspace. Top with a canning lid and ring and barely tighten.
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot and place trivet inside. Put the Mason jar on the trivet. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- Carefully remove the Mason jar, swirl it lightly and place on a cooling rack overnight.
- Once cooled, top with a pourable lid and use in all your favorite recipes that call for almond or vanilla extract.
- Caution: Never make Extract in a stovetop pressure cooker or near an open flame. My recipes are written for electric pressure cookers only. Always use a Natural Release, never a quick release.
- Alcohol smell may be strong at first but will diminish over a week or two. If still overpowering at that point, return to the pressure cooker for another 30 minutes.
- The pressure cooker will fit up to three jars at a time, so feel free to double or triple the recipe.