Make Your Own Vanilla Extract: Day 1
I have yet another DIY food project for you today: homemade vanilla extract! I have to credit my friend Emily for turning me on to this one; I just started a few jars yesterday and in a month or so, fingers crossed, should have knock-your-socks off super-aromatic extract.
Around us, the best price I can get vanilla beans for is about $1/bean, which up until recently I thought was a fairly good deal. Those are the kind that come, somewhat shriveled, as two to a little glass test tube. As it turns out, there’s a company called Vanilla Products USA thatsells packages of bulk vanilla beans for quite a steal. They have an eBay store where I picked up 30 organic extract-grade beans for $9. The beans arrived and the quality was better than I’d seen in storebought beans: pretty plump and very aromatic.
The process to making extract is easy, and there’s a thread on eGullet if you want to read about people’s experiments. I decided to divide 10 beans among 3 pint canning jars, filling the jars with vodka (since it’s flavorless.) I split the beans before placing them in the jar, which should speed up extraction and also infuse the extract with the minuscule vanilla seeds — which, I think, will be lovely in baked goods. I’m storing the jars in a dark cabinet for about a month, shaking them each day. After 1 day, here’s what we have:
Already turning a light amber. So, this should be an exciting experiment, and I’ll do some periodic posts on the progress of the extract — and perhaps a taste test at the end next to my storebought bottle? I think it would be interesting to bake something with both and see if I can tell the difference. (I’m also thinking this would make great gifts for fellow cooks!)
Here’s the info: