Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frugal Foodie: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract ~ A DIY Frugal Foodie Recipe Post

I've always been a bit intimidated by Vanilla beans. I never had thought I could really do anything with them until I was talking with Joanna at Baked By Joanna and she said how easy it was! She said vodka and vanilla beans and that is it. So I went on some researching adventures and was excited when Bountiful Baskets offered a basket with Vanilla beans! When I got my basket, it only had two and I knew from all my research I wanted more. So I did more research and read that had some great reviews, so I ordered 10 beans through their store on Amazon for only $10! They came today and were sealed nicely in their package, and were very soft.

Here are a few tips before I start on the process. I researched to see if people thought one brand of Vodka was better for the process over another but there was not a favored brand. The overall rec though is to make sure it's 40 proof. You *could* use Rum, however Rum adds it's own flavor and it might taste different then a traditional extract. The rule of measuring is 1/3 cup of vodka for each bean. Try to start with at least 3 beans and 1 cup of Vodka. Just a quick note on beans, the Vanilla beans found in a regular grocery store aren't ideal for the extract process, start with fresh softer beans. Look online or try your specialty grocery store.

The original 2 beans

Tonight I started the homemade Vanilla Extract process.

6 Beans
2 Cups of Vodka
Mason Jar

  1. Take each bean, cup lengthwise (up and down) the bean, splitting it open but leaving an inch on the bottom and inch on the top intact.
  2. Put the beans in the mason jar, then cover with Vodka. Make sure the beans are completely soaked in the Vodka.
  3. Seal tight and store in a cool, dark place where sun can not hit it. Every week, shake it up at least one time for about 8 weeks.
  4. After two months, take the jar and strain the Vanilla into smaller amber colored jars. Be sure to leave 20% of the original extract in the mason jar. After doing my research, it looks like you can continue to add Vodka to those same beans for at least a few years and they will continue to make Vanilla extract!

This really is such an easy recipe, I think the hardest part is waiting until its finished the process!
Homemade Vanilla can be great for gifts as well!

Look out world, next on my list is making Vanilla powder!

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