Thursday, October 4, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ok, so I totally slacked off yesterday and didn't get this posted.  But, you still have time to get this started...

I read a lot about this last fall/winter and wanted to give it a try, but didn't get around to starting it until it was too late for the holidays.

Now, I know it's just as simple to grab a bottle of the stuff at the grocery store...but I promise you, it does not taste nearly as good as this homemade stuff.

 Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Bottles
I purchased these little 8.5oz bottles at Specialty Bottle. They have a lot of bottles to choose from and ship quickly.

  • Whole Vanilla Beans
I purchased mine at Beanilla. They actually had a sale on the beans from Madagascar, so I grabbed those.

You're going to need 2 beans per 8oz. bottle.  I cut mine in half so that they would fit in the bottle.

  • Vodka
I didn't use the best vodka, but I didn't use the cheapest either.  You'll need 8oz (1 cup) per bottle.  I'm not sure if the quality of vodka really makes any difference.  I think the quality of vanilla beans is more important.

  • Start by washing/sterilizing your bottles.  Make sure they are completely dry.
  • Carefully cut a slit in each vanilla bean lengthwise (allowing the 'bean' to be exposed).  
  • Cut each bean in half (so that it will fit in the bottle).
  • Pour 8oz (1 cup) of vodka into each bottle.
  • Place 2 beans (4 pieces, since you cut them in half) into each bottle.
  • Cork/cap/seal the bottle.
  • Place the bottles in a cool, dark spot (pantry or empty shelf is a good place) and let them sit for 2-3 months.
  • It's a good idea to give them a little shake every few days.

Things to remember...
It will darken the longer you let it sit...and it will also develop a richer flavor.
Some people say that you should strain the extract & remove the beans once it has developed.  I prefer to leave it as is, for the exact reason that I stated above...the longer it sits, the richer it becomes.

I plan on giving these to my girls teachers this year...along with some other goodies, which I'll share in the coming weeks.

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