Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Ok, I really hope this will work. I am out of vanilla extract, but I'm still very well stocked with actual vanilla. (And yeah, you guessed it - vanilla extract is not to be found here. At least not REAL vanilla extract - just fake imitation stuff, and that at outrageous prices. As you can see, I'm whining again.)
Anyway. So this is an attempt to make my own extract. If anyone has a better idea, let me know - I still have loads more vanilla...
Pour 500 ml of liquor into a jar. (I used vodka for one, and a mix of dark and light rum for another.) Score five vanilla beans per jar, and stick them in. Let them stand dark for a month (mine still has over two weeks to go) and shake them every now and then.
After that, I plan to sieve the mixture and pour into small bottles, and maybe stick a bean in each. Sounds like an idea, yeah?
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My Mom had very good success with this when she came home from her travels with gobs of vanilla beans(I think from Mexico). She was told to use only top quality vodka to steep the vanilla in but I don't know why.
My grandmother always soaked her vanilla beans in good quality brandy for at least a month.
Yes! The Barefoot Contessa suggests making your own extract this way. She uses vodka.
My gran used rum for her extract.
I've done this for years and it works really well. I usually use rum but have used vodka and whisky as well. I ususally use a fairly big bottle and put a couple beans in (cut down the middle to expose the seeds) I kepp toppong it up with more liquir as it gets to about halfway and every six months or so I'll add an extre bean. I reckon I've had the same jar going for several years now.
I doo the same thing with orange and lemon rind and vodka. Makes a great flavouring for baking and cooking.
I recommend whirling that in the blender- breaking up your vanilla beans into small pieces, thus maximizing its contact with the alcohol.
For making extract vs flavored alcohol, you may want to look at increasing the number of vanilla pods in your mixture.
My favorite extract from my vanilla experiments was 50 beans : 1 pint vodka, steeped for 4 months or so.
Either way- you're going to get good stuff!
Thanks for all the comments! Sounds like I'm on the right track! McAuliflower, I'll add some whirled vanilla beans, I think! And then, I assume, you need to sieve the mixture somehow before using? Whereas LexCulinaria - you just use it straight from the jar?
I don't ever seive mine, I just use it straight from the jar. Mind you, I like the look of little vanilla seed flecks in things.
Another great way to use vanilla pods is to stick them in a jar filled with sugar. Shake it around and leave for a month. Vanilla sugar! It's great in coffee.
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