Category: Do It Yourself

Homemade Vanilla Extract


We adore getting creative in the kitchen and love making homemade items that you would normally buy at the store. We usually ask our readers what they use often in their kitchens and what they would prefer to make instead of buying. Makes four 8oz bottles of homemade vanilla extract and can easily be doubled.

Four 8oz dark glass bottles with tight fitting lids 16 high quality vanilla beans 32 oz of high quality vodka.

Slice vanilla beans open lengthwise. Then cut them in half so they fit easily into the bottle. Put 4 beans per bottle.


Grab a funnel and pour alcohol to cover the vanilla beans.

Screw on the lid and gently shake once or twice a week. Store the vanilla extract at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Wait eight weeks then enjoy.

Make Your Own Hot Sauce


Our team at edible Hawaiian Islands loves to eat and support local. Breakfast meetings are a favorite way to begin the day. We wanted to show how fun and easy it is to make your own hot sauce because, when dining on a breakfast of local eggs and farm-fresh veggies, the last thing we want to see on the table is a bottle of hot sauce from a foreign land.

Here is a basic recipe using locally grown chilies. You can select any chilies you like and even add some fresh tomatoes to tone down the heat.

1 lb. of fresh locally grown chilies,
sliced with stem and membrane removed
1 tsp garlic, minced
½ C onion, diced
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 ½ C distilled white wine vinegar
2 C water

Photo 1) Gather and prep all ingredients.
Tip: Wash your hands well after handling raw chilies.
Photo 2) Add ingredients to a medium size pot and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Photo 3) Transfer to a Vitamix or blender and blend to desired consistency.
You can add more water if you prefer your hot sauce a thinner consistency.
Cool and bottle in mason jars or any other glass container. Store in refrigerator.

Beer Mustard





¼ C. brown mustard seed

¼ C. yellow mustard seed

¾ C. local beer

1 Tbs. dry mustard

½ C. cider vinegar

2 Tbs. local honey

1 Tbs. Kosher salt

A pinch of cayenne


Soak mustard seeds in beer overnight in fridge. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix in blender until smooth. Add water if needed for desired consistency. Serve immediately or store for up to a month.

‘Olena & Ginger Infused Honey


Before I can name them, I smell ginger and wet earth, wild sussurations of the dense jungle that runs along Honopou Stream. This is where I come to remember. Here, in the quietness of water and green and soil, there is nowhere to turn that does not remind me I am also of this land.

My feet sink into soil infused with decades of ginger root, air perfumed with spice rising upward to touch leaf-refracted sunlight. Birds call. Water hammers relentlessly over rock. Lauhala branches murmur. White ginger blooms, defiantly. I am home.

Later, I infuse Kula honey with the most potent roots of the land I can find: Fresh `olena (turmeric) for protection and healing. Ginger for strength. Shades of gold and orange filled with curcuminoids, anti-inflammatories, antibacterials, digestive aids. Drizzle over fruit and yogurt. In hot water for a potent tonic. On toast. Sweet and spicy. Wild.

‘Olena & Ginger Infused Honey


1 cup filtered honey

1 ½-inch piece fresh `olena (turmeric) root

1 ½-inch piece fresh ginger root


`Olena contains powerful natural dyes that will stain all they touch—including your skin and all kitchen utensils and surfaces.

Using a knife or vegetable peeler, scrape the skins of the `olena and ginger from the root and discard. Finely grate the roots, or slice into very thin pieces and place in a small food processor or mortar and pestle. Grind or process until the roots are finely ground. Mix with honey and let infuse, covered, out of the sun, until desired potency is reached (1-7 days). After infusing, leave roots in honey, or strain out, as desired. Use in every way you’d normally enjoy honey.

Seed Balls


Seed balls are an ancient method of preserving and distributing seeds. Encasing the seeds in a protective mixture of clay and compost helps prevent them from drying out in the sun, being eaten by birds, or blowing away.


1. Mix equal parts of soil, clay and water. Mix thoroughly. There should be no lumps.

2. Add seeds.

3. Take small bits of clay and roll into a ball about 1-2 inch diameter.

4. Dry the seed balls for 24 hours in a dry, cool place before sowing or storing.

Candied Lemon Peels


Seasons change gently in Hawaii with just a cooler nip in the air. One change that we do notice is the abundance of citrus at the farmers’ markets. Last week a basket of lemons was left at our office doorstep. Around the office, we all shared ideas on what to do with them and finally decided to contact one of our favorite photographers who also happens to be an accomplished chef to see if she would share a generational family recipe. The chatter in the office went quite as we all went to work on our assigned task of making candied lemon peels. Thank you Monica Schwartz for not only sharing your family recipe but for taking the photographs too!

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  1. Peel lemons
  2. Add peels to a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Drain. Repeat 4 times. This step is important to remove the bitterness. Cool.
  3. Cut lemon peel in julienne strips about ¼” wide. 1 2 3 4 5
  4. In a medium saucepan add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to low. Carefully add julienne lemon strips and simmer gently until all the white pitch is transparent, about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Store peels in cooled syrup or allow them to cool and roll them in sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Making Square Ice Cubes

Here we share how easy it is to make large, clear ice cubes to heighten your bar skills and make your drink a bit more delicious.

We purchased silicone ice cube molds from our local kitchen store.


1. The water should be distilled or you can boil tap water twice, let cool.

2. Fill the mold, then set the mold into a larger container filled with regular tap water.

3. Place the filled mold in the freezer, overnight if possible.

4. Once frozen solid, release from mold, use immediately and enjoy.

Note:  You can add herbs, fresh fruit or vegetables. Don’t use anything acidic or it may not freeze completely.

DIY: Make Your Own Charcoal

Adapted from Corttany Brooks’ Recipe
Photography by Kolton Dalla


Why would anyone want to make their own charcoal you ask? For one thing, good hardwood lump burns hotter and cleaner than briquettes and is much easier to light.You also know where it came from, what it contains and what was done to it en route.

Screenshot 2015-07-16 13.52.25WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Source of fire: I use a back yard fire pit. A propane heater or even a grill could also be used.

Empty metal paint can: It’s a good idea to make sure the paint can is cleaned of paints that can give off toxic fumes. Poke or drill three holes in the lid.These holes should be about an eighth of an inch in diameter.

Wood: You can use any hardwood native to the islands like Kiawe or Macadamia Nut wood. Experiment to see which one is readily available for you and works for your needs. Research to make sure the wood is not toxic when burned.

When building the fire, I like to have my fire going for an hour or two be- fore I start cooking the charcoal.This gives me a nice steady coal bed to cook over and a nice break to enjoy some sun and a brew.

Once the fire situation is in order, fill the can with your choice of wood. Try to use uniform pieces, which will give a more consistent end product. If using a variety of sizes, line the can with larger pieces, and place the smaller ones in the center. It’s also helpful to use dry or seasoned wood.


This part takes a few hours.Turn the can over once or twice to make sure that the heat stays hot and even, but not blazing.

As the wood heats, steam and gasses escape through the holes in the lid. The goal is to cook out everything but the carbon. Cooking the wood while starving it of oxygen is the retort method of making charcoal.

At first, the steam escaping will appear white. As the steam darkens, keep a closer eye on it.The darker gasses show that the essential oils are burning off.These gasses are flammable and will eventually ignite, making three small torches out of the holes in the lid.

This means that it is time to take it off the fire.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not take off the lid at this point! Simply place the extremely hot can holes facing down in a safe, cool place. Introducing oxy- gen to the coal at this point would cause it to burn up immediately, leaving you with ashes.

Wait at least a few hours for everything to cool completely before revealing your homemade charcoal. And lastly, enjoy!

DIY: Dreamcykle Smoothie

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By Kauai Juice Co.


2 lb. coconut meat
– From mature green coconuts, ideally .-inch thick with a semi soft/hard consistency. Roughly two coconuts’ worth.

5 C. fresh coconut water

15 C. tangerine juice

2 Tbs. Tahitian vanilla

Items Needed:

  • blender
  • cheesecloth or nut milk bag

1. Blend together 1⁄2 lb. coconut meat with 5 C. coconut water. Blend on high for 1 minute.

2. Strain through cheese cloth and discard pulp. Repeat three times with 1⁄2 lb. coconut meat and 5 C. tangerine juice. Add in 2 Tbs. vanilla and stir.

3. Chill and enjoy.

DIY: Make Your Own Coconut Milk


Recipe by Ryan Burden
Photography by Alexis van Dijk

Once you’ve tasted this homemade coconut milk, you’ll never go back to canned. Traditional recipes call for plain water, while this method combines the juice of young, sweet coconuts with the rich mature coco, for a unique alchemy we can’t get enough of. Use it for “wow factor” in soups, gravies, ice-cream and more.


1 husked, mature “brown” coconut

1 or 2 sweet, “spoonmeat” coconuts

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1. Open husked, brown coconut by tapping firmly around the “equator” (think of the three eyes as the North Pole). You can

use the back of a machete, cleaver or even a smooth stone. Catch the juice in a large bowl, set aside.

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2. Remove the meat using a coconut tool or butter knife, being careful to not force too hard.

Tip: Place halved coco in a warm, sunny spot for 1-2 hours; the meat will pop out much easier.

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3. Fill the blender halfway with coconut meat, cut into 2” chunks. Add saved coco water and top with the juice of young, sweet coconuts.

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4. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds.

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5. Strain out fiber by pouring into nut milk bag and squeeze or “milk.”

Serve or jar and refrigerate (keeps up to three days if cold and un-opened). The cream will rise after a few minutes, which you can utilize as a substitute to heavy cream in any favorite recipe.

To learn more about the different ages and uses of coconuts check out