A few weeks ago, I was shopping for vanilla beans--ten dollars for three itty beans. My youngest son is a biochemist, and he assurred me that we could make our own extract. We just needed beans and vodka. How simple is that?
I shopped for jars and Madagascar beans onlined; the local liquor store had good-quality vodka on sale. For under three dollars, I made my own extract.
First, make sure you sterilize your equipment, even the kitchen shears. Make sure your cutting boards are super-clean. I've been told that it's okay to run your equipment through the dishwasher, but this goes against my training as a registered nurse and as a "canner." Just saying--never take chances when it comes to making your own extract.
Cut each bean in half, leaving them attached at one end. Use a paring knife to scrape/mash the beans.
Place beans in jars and add vodka--leave 1" headspace.
Seal the jars, shake, and place in a cool, dark place.
Shake every day.
Shake every day.
In about 3 months, I will strain the vanilla, and add a fresh bean. But now, I can't resist opening the cap and smelling the vanilla.
How to Make Vanilla Extract
What You Need:
1. Sterilize jars, scissors, knife, and funnel.
2. Using scissors, split beans, leaving them attached at one end.
3. Scrape and mash the pods/seeds with a paring knife to release the heart of the vanilla flavor).
4. Place 3 or 4 split beans (and seeds!) in each sterilized bottle.
5. Pour vodka into each bottle--use a funnel--and leave 1" headspace.
6. Seal jars and place in a dark, cool, sunless spot for at least a month. Shake daily.
7. After 2 months, strain jars (again, sterilize the equipment) and refill with strained liquid. Add fresh, split vanilla beans.
8. As you use the extract, add more vodka. Always shake before using.
Note: I used clear glass bottles (Bormioli), but dark brown is traditional (and will prevent light from reaching the vanilla beans).
Show and Tell Friday.