Yesterday’s post was so satisfying for me. I woke up wondering if I’d published something completely lame and whiny (the blogging equivalent of drunk dialing, maybe?), but it turns out lots of you can relate. Which is awesome. And maybe just by putting it out there things will begin to simplify. Maybe.
Now. Onto something totally different.
Homemade vanilla extract!
I’ve been meaning to start my own since January when I saw a big jar in my neighbor Ruth’s kitchen. (Enter the reality I mentioned yesterday… things don’t always happen as I intend around these parts.) Once she told me how to make it, I was like, um, DUH! Why doesn’t everyone do this??? It reminds me of the Homemade Pantry section on Kiss My Spatula. Which is without a doubt something you should all check out and is IMO completely worthy of aspiration.
It’s a bit of a cost commitment up front, but you won’t have to buy vanilla for a very long time. And once it’s all done brewing you can apparently jar it up and give it away as gifts. Hello xmas pressies!
What you need for a jar this size:
A big jar with a sealing lid (preferably tall enough to accommodate vanilla beans)
7 cups vodka
21 vanilla beans
(the ratio of beans to vodka is 6 beans for every 2 cups of vodka).
The only reason I chose the above amount is because I needed 7 cups of vodka to cover the vanilla beans. I’m sure you could make this in whatever size batch you like, if you cut up the beans into smaller pieces. I think choosing good quality vanilla beans and good quality vodka probably equals good quality vanilla extract, but use your judgement there. My beans are from Penzeys (a Christmas gift from my friend Carol) and I used Absolut vodka (not top top shelf, but good enough I figured).
Put the beans in the jar. Add vodka. Seal. Wait two months or so and try it! If you need to add more vodka during the extraction process, do it. Maybe throw another bean in there for good measure. Supposedly once you have it started, you can add more vodka and beans as you use your stock to keep it going for a long time.
Vanilla beans are expensive, but they are less so if you buy them in bulk. Here are some good places to buy them:
Most importantly, definitely do not buy them at the grocery store! It will cost a fortune.
I’ll report back when my vanilla is fully extracted.
**UPDATE! Brent from Beanilla.com emailed with their official ratio for FDA quality single-fold vanilla extract. 5 beans for every 1 cup of vodka (or maybe bourbon! I like where you guys are going with that). Which significantly increases your start up costs, but maybe the vanilla is way more amazing? Just thought I’d share.