Rum: Using Rum or Rum Extracts in recipes

Rum: Using Rum Or Rum Extracts In Recipes

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Kimberly Nolan


The Holiday Season is here & some of our favorite recipes use Rum or call for Rum Extract. Rum Cakes/puddings, Eggnog & lots of recipes for Rum flavored cookies, cakes & wonderful chocolates cordials. Yummmm.
Even savory dishes with Rum flavorings added! (& dont forget the standby favorite beverage Rum & Coke :)

Many of us love Rum, cooking with it or making our favorite recipes that have been handed down from one generation to another AND we wouldnt serve it to a child or someone with an alergy etc.

But not everyone knows that Rum Extracts contain alcohol. So a little Rum info :)


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How to Make Rum: Using Rum or Rum Extracts in recipes


  1. What is Rum extract? Does it have Alcohol in it? If so how much? Whats the difference between Rum Extact & Rum Flavoring? What can I use as a substitute & how much? Does the alcohol burn off during baking or cooking?

    Rum extract is a cooking ingredient made from rum. It has a concentrated rum flavor, without the high alcohol content associated with real rum. Depending on the company which makes it, this ingredient usually contains a small amount of alcohol, (McCormick's Imitation Rum Extract has 35% alcohol) although alcohol-free versions are also available. Like other extracts, rum extract keeps essentially indefinitely as long as it is stored in a cool, dry place out of the light.

    There are two basic kinds of rum extract: natural, and imitation. The natural type is made with real rum, and it has a full, rich, complex flavor much like that of actual rum. Imitation versions are made with artificial ingredients, and tend to have a much simpler, less interesting flavor. As a general rule, imitations are significantly cheaper than real versions.

    People use rum extract in cooking for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the flavor is concentrated, so when a cook wants a rum flavor without disrupting the liquid balance of a food, rum extract can be used. It also tends to be less expensive than actual rum, and for people who do not drink, it may be preferable to buy a small bottle of extract for a recipe rather than a bottle of rum which will never be used. It also keeps for extended periods of time, making it a shelf-stable addition to the ingredient library.

    If you have a recipe which calls for real rum and you want to use rum extract instead, you can convert the recipe. As a general rule, for every three tablespoons of dark rum in a recipe, one teaspoon of extract can be used. For every five tablespoons of light rum called for, one tablespoon of extract is usually sufficient.
  2. Because significant differences in liquid levels can emerge when doing these conversions, some cooks like to add water to make up for the missing liquid.

    Cooks can also CONVERT THE OTHER WAY, using real rum instead of rum extract. However, this can get complicated, especially in cakes, where the amount of liquid plays a critical role in how the cake bakes. Too much liquid can interfere with the finished texture of the cake, creating an unpleasant mess rather than the desired product. The higher alcohol content of true rum can also interfere with the cooking process.Rum liquor can be substituted for rum extract, however there is a difference in the amount required for both dark and light rum. As a general rule, for recipes requiring 1 teaspoon of rum extract, use 3 tablespoons of rum or season to taste. For a more specific general rule, the ratio of light rum will be closer to 4 tablespoons while dark rum requires less, closer to 2 tablespoons.

    So whats the diference between Rum Extract and Rum flavoring?

    A flavoring typically in liquid form that is made from rum. Although the alcohol content is very small, if a non-alcohol based extract is desired for various tastes or traditions it is available in some food stores.
    So if, for any reason at all, you dont want or need alcohol in a recipe always make sure whatever substitute you buy specifically says it is non-alcoholic. Because even some flavorings contain small amts of alcohol.
    When purchasing extract, look for products that are labeled "pure" or "natural" so that the product is actually pure extract. If the flavoring is labeled as "imitation" it is actually made of all artificial flavoring and will not have the same rich flavor as pure extract. If an extract does not contain the minimum amount of alcohol, it is considered a flavoring, not an extract. Just remember...UNLESS it says non-alcoholice even flavoring may have some alcohol in them.
  3. Extracts can be stored indefinitely without loosing much flavor. Keep the extract in a cool dry area away from heat and direct light in an air tight sealed container.

    So we've talked about what Rum Extract is; the difference between an Extract and the Flavoring; how to substitute one for the other and even how to substitute the liquor for one or the other.

    So does the Alcohol in Rum Extract or Rum Flavoring (or any other type of extract or flavoring) cook or bake off?

    Here I want to refer you to a full comprehensive discussion on the use of alcohol, extracts or flavorings in any recipe and a chart that tells you exactly how long you would need to bake or cook something to completely remove any alcohol from your favorite Holiday dish. I sure hope this helps make your holidays a little easier and safer. Happy Holidays!!!

    Everything you need to know about alcohol & baking

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