Ok, so do you have 5 minutes? Let's make some homemade vanilla!
|Picture of my new vanilla beans.|
When deciding what vanilla bean to buy, there are 2 that stand out to me as the best...
1. The Mexican Vanilla Bean-has a smooth, strong, rich fragrance and flavor. But buy from a reputable supplier. Some suppliers add coumarin which can damage your liver and kidneys.
2. Madagascar or Madagascar-bourbon vanilla bean-has a smooth, rich sweet flavor and are the thinnest of the vanilla beans.
I bought 2 vanilla beans from Whole Foods and paid $11.99. Then I went on Amazon.com and found out that I can buy 16 Madagascar-bourbon beans for $14.50 and 54 beans for $26.50. Ouch!!! Live and learn.
What you need....
3 vanilla beans (split in half lengthwise)
Vodka 80 proof or higher (buy the cheap stuff)
Glass bottle that closes tightly (recyle here and save money)
Split 3 beans lengthwise with a sharp knife on a cutting board, but stop 1 inch from each end so that bean stays together but the centers are split.
Place in a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid. Fill with 8 ounces of vodka. Place in a cool, dark place for at least 6-8 weeks (mine will steep for 1 year, as I don't need any right now). Shake at least once per week.
Mark your bottle with the date you are making your vanilla...cause....drum roll....for 1 year forward, when you run out just add more vodka. Your beans will flavor your vodka for 1 year. Pretty cool huh'?
At the end of the 2 months, it is ready to use. Leave beans in the bottle. And remember vanilla is a forever food. It will not spoil. Just make sure to store in a dark pantry.
Note: -You will need 3 vanilla beans per 8 oz of vodka.
-Do not add pure vanilla to hot liquids, the alcohol will evaporate and so will some of the vanilla flavor.
-If you make homemade ice cream with vanilla beans, wash the split bean thoroughly after cooking the ice cream mixture. Place the cleaned bean in a bowl and cover the bean with either 1-2 cups of granulate cane sugar (not beet!) or 1-2 cups of powdered sugar. Cover with tight fitting lid and let it rest for 2 weeks. Use this vanilla sugar in your recipes for an amazing flavor. 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar is equal to 1/4 tsp pure vanilla. Recycle!! :-)
-If you want a bolder flavor use spiced run or brandy instead of the vodka.
-Once your vanilla is finished you can pour it into cute bottles and give as Christmas presents with ribbon or bows or from the beginning give as a gift but put a note on the bottle that says "do not open for 2 months."
-I read from another blog that she has had her bottle going for 14 years, she just leaves the beans in there, adding 3 new beans every year and a cup of brandy. She said its tastes fantastic.
Happy vanilla making and money saving! :-) I will post more after my vanilla beans arrive and I make my first batch. :-)
**Changes/Updates: I would highly recommend using Organic vodka. With all of the gmo corn, organic is a smarter choice.
I thought I would show you some recent pictures. The vanilla extract is beautiful.
|The 2 on the left I started brewing November 2011. The 2 on the right I just started. Cool, huh'?|