Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Make you're own vanilla extract

Making your own vanilla extract is not difficult but it does take a minute.  Or 264,960 minutes if you're counting.

About six months
Preferably two 8 ounce jar(s) with a tight lid(s)
12 to 16 vanilla beans/pods*
*good vodka. good beans/pods.
By good I mean not the cheapest out there. For my extract, I use Tito's or Five Wives (a local Utah brand). 
By good beans/pods, I also mean not the cheapest out there. There are Grade A and Grade B beans/pods and my understanding is that the Grade A are longer in size.  Grade B are slightly cheaper (and apparently recommended for making extract).  I have used both Grade A and B and do not have a preference. 
I have heard that the Madagascar Organic Vanilla and Tahitian Vanilla beans/pods are good. Both are Grade A. I haven't tried Tahitian.  I suggest trying a couple different kinds of beans/pods.  Maybe you can tell a difference in taste/quality, but honestly, I cannot. Me palate is not refined. I used a Grade B Madagascar Vanilla Bean from Amazon for my current batch and it's as good as any I've tried.  I get my vanilla on Amazon because it's better than what I can find at local grocers, and often slightly cheaper online.  Plus, I don't have to leave my house. #Winning
To begin, you want to wipe your vanilla beans with a damp paper towel to clean them. Make a slit down the side of the beans (you don't need to cut in half but it won't hurt them). Basically you're just opening them up to expose the vodka to the vanilla.  If any of the bean guts come out, just scrape them into your jar. The guts are the good stuff.

Add 6 to 8 beans (about 1/2 to 3/4 ounce/15g to 21g) to a clean, dry jar.  Cover the beans with 8 ounces of vodka. You can fold or cut the beans in half if they're too tall to be completely submerged.  Close tightly and give a good shake.  

Put the jar in the back of your cupboard or some other dark place where it will sit until you remember it again. The jar needs to be out of direct sunlight. 

Give your jar a vigorous shake every 6 weeks or so.  I usually shake mine on the first day of the month when I change my calendar (because the jar is in the same cupboard where the calendar hangs).  Set a reminder on your phone or just don't worry about it. But it'll be better vodka if you give it a shake routinely.  

Now the patience part. You need to let your vodka sit for AT LEAST six months before you use it.  The longer it sits, the better it tastes.  Some people say you can use the extract after two months. I believe those people are wrong
I suggest making two jars at once so you've always got a jar in use, and a jar brewing. During the holidays, we will easily use a whole 8 ounce jar so it's good to always have a spare. Especially when you're waiting months for it to be ready.  
Plus, I promise once you make your own vanilla extract and let it age 6 months to a year (the longer, the better), you'll never use store bought again.  It really is that good and your food tastes better for it. And you know exactly what's in it. 

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