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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 edition of The Grocer's Encyclopedia.

An extract is a substance made by extracting a part of a raw material, often by using a solvent such as ethanol or water. Extracts may be sold as tinctures or in powder form.

The aromatic principles of many spices, nuts, herbs, fruits, etc., and some flowers, are marketed as extracts, among the best known of true extracts being almond, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, pistachio, rose, spearmint, vanilla, violet, and wintergreen.

Extraction techniques

The majority of natural essences are obtained by extracting the essential oil from the blossoms, fruit, roots, etc., or the whole plants, through four techniques:

  • Expression when the oil is very plentiful and easily obtained, as in lemon peel.
  • Absorption is generally accomplished by steeping in alcohol, as vanilla beans.
  • Maceration is used to create smaller bits of the whole, as in making peppermint extract, etc.
  • Distillation is used with maceration, but in many cases, it requires expert chemical knowledge and the erection of costly stills.

The distinctive flavors of nearly all fruits, in the popular acceptance of the word, are very desirable adjuncts to many food preparations, but there are only a few from which it is practicable to obtain a concentrated flavor extract of the necessary strength. Among those which lend themselves readily to the manufacture of "pure" extracts the most important are lemons, oranges and vanilla beans.

Chemical-created essence

A majority of other, concentrated fruit flavors, such as banana, cherry, currant, peach, pineapple, raspberry and strawberry, are produced by combinations of various esters, together with special oils. The desired colors are generally obtained by the use of dyes. Among the esters most generally employed are ethyl acetate and ethyl butyrate. The chief factors in the production of artificial banana and pineapple extract, and also important in the manufacture of strawberry extract, are amyl acetate and amyl butyrate, amyl alcohol being the principal constituent of that part of the alcohol obtained by the distillation of grain and potato starch, which is popularly known in the US as fusel oil and in Europe, generally by the title of potato oil.

Artificial extracts do not, as a rule, possess the delicacy of the fruit flavor, but they get sufficiently close to it to be of real service and convenience when true essences are unobtainable or considered to be too expensive.



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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From Latin extractum, neuter perfect passive participle of extrahō.


  • enPR: (noun): ĕks'trăkt, IPA: /ˈɛkstrækt/, SAMPA: /"Ekstr{kt/
  • enPR: (verb): ĭkstrăkt', IPA: /ɪksˈtrækt/, SAMPA: /Iks"tr{kt/
  •  Audio (US)help, file
    Rhymes: -ækt




extract (plural extracts)

  1. That which is extracted or drawn out.
  2. A portion of a book or document, incorporated distinctly in another work; a citation; a quotation.
  3. A decoction, solution, or infusion made by drawing out from any substance that which gives it its essential and characteristic virtue; essence; as, extract of beef; extract of dandelion; also, any substance so extracted, and characteristic of that from which it is obtained; as, quinine is the most important extract of Peruvian bark.
  4. A solid preparation obtained by evaporating a solution of a drug, etc., or the fresh juice of a plant; -- distinguished from an abstract.
  5. A peculiar principle once erroneously supposed to form the basis of all vegetable extracts; -- called also the extractive principle.
  6. Ancestry; descent.
  7. A draft or copy of writing; a certified copy of the proceedings in an action and the judgment therein, with an order for execution.


Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


to extract

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to extract (third-person singular simple present extracts, present participle extracting, simple past and past participle extracted)

  1. (transitive) To draw out or forth; to pull out; to remove forcibly from a fixed position, as by traction or suction, etc.; as, to extract a tooth from its socket, a stump from the earth, a splinter from the finger.
  2. (transitive) To withdraw by expression, distillation, or other mechanical or chemical process; as, to extract an essence. Compare abstract, transitive verb.
  3. (transitive) To take by selection; to choose out; to cite or quote, as a passage from a book.
  4. (transitive, arithmetic) To determine (a root of a number).
    Please extract the third root of 27.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Part or all of this page has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


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