A few months back, a friend of mine became very excited about vanilla beans and sent me a link with instructions for making vanilla extract. I decided immediately that I would have to make it.
If you’re a fellow baker, then you already know how often vanilla extract is called for in recipes and how expensive it is to buy the pure stuff. So of course I loved the idea of making my own, not only in the name of frugality but also just because, why the hell not? I want to see if it works!
After weeks of procrastination, I finally got my ass to the grocery store and shelled out the money for real vanilla beans (I got two of them for $4.79 at Bulk Barn) and then over to the friendly neighbourhood LCBO to grab a bottle of vodka. The only other thing needed is a clean glass jar, which I have plenty on hand.
The beans aren’t quite what I expected. I thought they would be hard and brittle, but instead they are soft and malleable, almost resin-like. This makes it easy to split them down the middle, leaving the ends intact. Next, fit them inside a glass jar to cover with alcohol. The recipe calls for 3 beans and 1 cup of vodka, but I only had 2 beans so I just used 3/4 cup of vodka instead. That should be okay.
After one night of sitting in the cupboard, the vodka already has an amber tinge. It needs to sit for at least 2 months before it is ready to use, so I’ll provide an update at the halfway mark and again when it is completed.
I’m really excited to see if it works. Has anyone else made their own extracts?