Did you know you can actually make homemade vanilla extract? Its not a new concept by any means, but before a few months ago I had no idea that this was possible, or how incredibly easy it could be! If you bake a lot you know that pure vanilla extract ain’t cheap, and I’m all about doing things myself and saving money.
All you need are two ingredients: alcohol and vanilla beans! (Try these!!) If you buy pure vanilla extract from the store and look at the ingredients list, it normally just says vanilla beans, and alcohol. Somehow I never noticed that or realized that vanilla extract is alcoholic until recently. You use such a small amount in recipes because it carries such a strong vanilla flavor so I guess I never thought about that or noticed that it contained alcohol. When I told a few people this little tidbit and they had no idea either, so I guess it might not be common knowledge for a lot of people, or else we were all just clueless. 🙂 Anyhow! Here’s how you make it!
Generally about 5 vanilla beans per one cup of alcohol is the ratio that is recommended for vanilla extract. Vodka is the most common type of alcohol to use because it has a really neutral flavor, but some people use bourbon, rum, or brandy. I just bought the cheapest vodka they had at the store which is perfectly fine and does the job. To make it I cut my vanilla beans lengthwise in half almost all the way to the top, while leaving the bean in tact. I added the appropriate amount of beans to my jar and poured the vodka over them. The beans I bought said that the extract would be usable in one month, but I’ve read other accounts of making vanilla extract that said 2 or even 3 months. We started using the vanilla in peanut butter frozen banana shakes about a month after I started it and I definitely tasted the vanilla flavor in there so I’d say after its steeped for a month, go for it! The flavor will only deepen more, the longer its left to sit. You have to try to remember to shake it up once a day to help it along. Also, when you start using the vanilla up, you can keep topping off your jar with vodka and it will blend in with your extract and the existing beans in your jar. You can keep doing this for awhile. Eventually you will want to take out the old beans and replace them with new beans, but how long you go will be personal preference. If you notice that the extract doesn’t taste as good or that the vanilla flavor isn’t as strong as it was before you’ll know its time to replace your beans!
This is awesome for creating a large stock of vanilla if you use it a lot, or it also makes an adorable homemade gift for someone else who loves baking. 🙂
Here’s a yummy recipe over at www.simplyashleynicole.com you can make using your homemade vanilla!
Ashley, from Simply Ashley Nicole, and I were paired up as “solidarity sisters” this month! We’re both part of a group of Christian-women-bloggers called the Peony Project on Facebook and we signed up to participate this month. Solidarity sisters is basically getting a pen pal from the group to chat with throughout the month. We chat about life and help each other out with our blogs. Its fun, and really helpful! We were encouraged to do some type of collaboration post with our “sister” and this is ours, so check out her blog and her awesome recipe! Ashley’s blog has a little bit of everything; From life advise to budgeting, marriage, fun ideas on all sorts of topics, tips for bloggers, and even recipes. If you’re a fellow Christian-woman-blogger, check out the Peony Project and consider signing up for Solidarity Sisters in January to get your own pen pal!