The aroma of lime leaves will absolutely transport you. To where? Oh, a balmy outdoor restaurant somewhere in SE Asia, or to a tropical stroll on some unnamed island. It’s an amazing and evocative scent, a key component of Thai curries, some of my favorite flavors. Unfortunately, dried lime leaves aren’t really as useful as fresh ones, as the oil is volatile and loses much of its oomph over time. I never seem to be able to use even a small package of the fresh, imported leaves before they dry to a crisp, so I wanted to develop a method for keeping the scent and flavor going.
Aren’t they beautiful? At first glance, this extract may not prove to be as widely useful as say, vanilla, or sour cherry, but I disagree. Waffles? Yes! With some toasted coconut. Custard? Yes! With some passionfruit. Shortbread? Yes! With nothing at all! Margaritas? Yes yes yes. With silver tequila. (Note to self. Do this ASAP). Okay, using this extract will take some thought. I love it when a product challenges me. How boring would cooking be without the option to blend and fuse multiple flavors and unique products? Obviously, no fun at all.
Lastly, if you make this and feel you really can’t find enough outlets for it, it also makes a great room freshener or aromatherapy pick-me-up. Don’t just take my word on this one; nothing compares to natural scents in your house.
Tool recommendations: just a small jar with a nice lid.
Kaffir Lime Leaf Extract
A refreshingly floral SE Asian citrus extract for baking, home use or mixology!
- 8-12 ideally fresh or semi-dried kaffir lime leaves
- 4 T. neutral spirits
- Gently bruise the leaves with your fingers.
- Place in small glass container, and add alcohol.
- Swirl and cover; place in dark cool location. Can be used after 1 week, will only heighten in scent and flavor over time.