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How do I make an extract to get the flavor of a pumpkin? Should I use pumpkin seeds or fresh pumpkin or maybe even the pumpkin skin? If I use pumpkin, should I dry it out or dehydrate it?

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I don't think this is practical at home, in terms of making a "pumpkin extract". What are you actually trying to achieve? –  SAJ14SAJ Jun 27 '13 at 18:11
I am trying to achieve an alcohol based extract that will have the pumpkin flavor essence. I would like to use it in baking and in making cocktails. –  anton2g Jun 27 '13 at 18:21

1 Answer 1

This is speculation, since I have never done it, and I don't think it is practical or more effective than just cooking with pumpkin puree for these applications.

If I were to try this, I would:

  1. Roast pumpkin (just the flesh, not the seeds or peel) to develop the roasty flavors. You would roast it dryer than you would for pureeing, maybe to a leathery texture, but not completely dry.
  2. Infuse a very strong vodka or grain alcohol with the pureed roasted pumpkin for a week or six.
  3. Filter the the liquid off with a coffee filter.
  4. Optionally, reduce the the liquid extremely carefully (probably outside for safety reasons) until it becomes reasonably concentrated.

I suspect the results of this would be underwhelming. You will note that this is essentially how fruit liquors are made at home, except for step 1 (unique to pumpkin) and step 4.

For curiosity, see also this recipe for a pumpkin liqueur, although it also has many additional pumpkin flavors. The key difference is you won't use extra flavors, and you will use a much higher pumpkin to solvent ratio.

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Instead of trying to do a reduction by heat, a better method in this case may be to do a freeze distillation (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional_freezing). I know this method is used often when making other fruit brandies, such as Applejack. –  WLPhoenix Jan 28 '14 at 0:35

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