Some of you may remember my first post about homemade vanilla extract from June in which I split 2 vanilla beans down the middle, added them to 3/4 cup of vodka, and set the mixture aside. It has been a little over two months since then, which means it is time for a check in.
Comparing my experiment to pure vanilla extract from the store seems the best way to know if I made it properly. In terms of colour, they are similar. The homemade stuff has a harsher vodka scent than the storebought kind. This is probably because I used straight alcohol as opposed to the water/alcohol/sugar solution used in the store brand, and a higher alcohol content results in a more flavourful result.
Another consideration is the type of vanilla bean used. The vanilla beans I bought are Madagascarian, also known as bourbon, which have the most balanced flavour in comparison to Mexican, Indonesian or Tahitian vanilla. My bottle of pure vanilla extract does not specify which type of bean was used, which makes it difficult to make a fair comparison of the two.
The real test is of course the flavour, so I made vanilla pudding from scratch using the homemade extract. Did it taste like vanilla? Oh yeah. The only reason I don’t share the pudding recipe is because it was starchy and lumpy. Had it not been so oddly lumpy (and yes I did whisk it like crazy) it would have been the perfect pudding.
So for those of you who were wondering if it actually works, you now have your answer. It works well enough that I’ll be making my own extract from now on. When this container reaches the halfway mark, I’ll start up a new batch so that it will be ready when the first batch is done.
Has anyone else started a batch?
UPDATE: September 2014!
I have successfully made vanilla extract using white rum instead of vodka. It’s also handy to use a jar with a snap on lid instead of the type you screw on and off.
I will never buy it from the store again!