Saturday, March 13, 2010

DIY Vanilla Extract

During our winter vacation to Hawaii we visited the Hawaiian Vanilla Factory and brought home some very fresh vanilla beans, so we set out to make our own vanilla extract. This is a very easy and quite rewarding kitchen craft. To make your own extract you will need a cutting board and sharp knife. Some drinking quality alcohol. We used a variety of alcohol, including a smooth Brandy, a 100 proof vodka and some rum (not combined though). The rum was inspired by thoughts (hopes, really) of Rum raisin cakes and rum truffles! You also want to use plump, supple, moist vanilla beans with a rich aroma. If you think you have a good quality fat bean use 1-1/2 beans to 1 C alcohol. Otherwise you might want to use 3 beans to 1 C alcohol. Simply slice the beans to expose the seeds (pictured here) and then bottle. Label and date your bottles too. While the color will change quickly, it will take about 8 weeks to be ready. Store in a cool, dark spot.
As you begin to use your vanilla, turn it into a perpetual bottle of vanilla! As the bottle gets low, say down 1/3rd, add some more of the same alcohol to it. You can add more vanilla beans if you want. You can also add some simple syrup to sweeten it, (about 1 Tbsp. simple syrup per 2 cup vanilla extract). This will yield a smoother taste.

Using a variety of vanilla beans (Madagascar, Mexican, Tahitian) will provide a more complex flavor. Use and Enjoy.


Martha said...

I've made vanilla for 30 years. Had always used rum until I read about vodka and did make one batch with that but think that the rum has a more rounded flavor and so I only use rum. However, you can make it with bourbon as well -- I've never tried it. I usually have three jars as well -- one I'm using, one that's almost ready and a new one. When I finish the one I'm using, I start anew. The flavor is awesome and so much better than store vanilla -- even the pricey store vanilla -- and cheaper too!!!!

Great post!

Carol said...

I've always wanted to give this a shot was always put off by the price of the beans. HOwever the time has come and I'm off o find some beans and booze for a weekend project.

lemonverbenalady said...

Mine is going to ready in two weeks! Very exciting! Thanks for the reminder!

Marilyn said...

Interesting! I have never thought of making my own vanilla.