Thursday, November 29, 2012

Never Ending Vanilla Extract

Today I went to try a recipe for Spelt Banana Spice Cake and, of course, the last ingredient to be added is the vanilla. The recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon and I had less than a teaspoon in the bottle!  

I decided this is a great time to start my own vanilla extract. I had read about this a few months ago (if I had started it then, I would have had my own by now..... ).

All you need is some sort of hard liquor (vodka, rum, whiskey) and a vanilla bean!  I had vanilla beans, but alas no liquor. Since I had to go to the store for vanilla anyway and there happens to be a liquor store next door, I stopped in and got a couple of the cheapest nips of vodka I could get.  Just 75 cents a piece for about 2 ounces. Of course I had already torn off the lables when I decided to take a picture.

Anyway, all you need to do in order to make your own Never Ending Vanilla Extract (we will see what the definition of "never" is at some point) is:

  •  take 1 vanilla bean per 4 ounces of liquor (I had 2 halves which worked out perfectly since I had 2 2 ounce bottles ) 
  • Split the bean down the middle (but leave the top and bottom in tact .. so don't split it ALL the way.. just the middle of the middle.. does that make sense?
  • You submerge the vanilla bean in the liquor (make sure it is covered by the liquor at all times
  • Store it in a cool, dark place and shake every few days for at least 6 weeks.The longer you let it stand the more intense the flavor will be.
Now, here is the "Never Ending" part.  You can TOTALLY reuse the vanilla bean! So, start 2 bottles (or start one then in a few weeks start the next) and when you get low on the first bottle, just add more liquor and start the process over again!

The vanilla beans I had were from a recipe that called for only the seeds out of half a bean, so I had one half that had had the seeds scraped out already. I marked the bottles with the date and "new bean" and "old bean" and we will see how it turns out!  

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