Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I first learned about making your own vanilla extract last summer, and ever since then, I've slowly been accumulating empty jars so I can make it!  It is totally easy, and I'm excited about packaging up my homemade vanilla to give at Christmastime.

First: get yourself some cheap liquor.  At least 80 proof, and plastic bottles are preferred :)  (but seriously...don't waste good alcohol on extract. Save it for cocktails!)  I got some "Early Times" bourbon and some "Kavlana" vodka.  Never heard of those?  Good.  You should never actually drink them.  They come in big, plastic bottles, and are cheap cheap cheap.

Next: get yourself some empty jars.  I saved my pasta jars for the past several months.  Anything that seals well will do.

Finally: get yourself some vanilla beans.  I ordered these beans from online. You can order as much or little as you want. In retrospect, I should have ordered 1/4 lb (or even less...) because I have a LOT of beans left over... but that's ok because they keep forever!  More vanilla extract for all!

To assemble: take a sharp paring knife and slit the vanilla beans all the way down, leaving about 1 inch at the top, to hold the bean together.  Then put the split beans into a jar and pour alcohol over them.  The rule is: 3 beans per 1 cup (8 oz.) of alcohol.  I put 2-3 cups in each jar, so 6-9 beans per jar!

Seal the jars, and place in a cool, dark spot for about 2 months.  Shake them periodically to distribute the vanilla, and in 2 months, you will be ready to package up the vanilla to give away, or use in your favorite chocolate chip cookies :)

Recipe Source: Joy the Baker

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