Homemade Vanilla Extract

Very raw homemade vanilla extract.  This vanilla has only been extracting for one week.  A full bodied vanilla takes 6-8 weeks.  Well worth the wait!

Let's talk vanilla, shall we?  I have been buying Pure Vanilla Extract for years.  Every time I toss one of those miniscule jars into my shopping cart I cringe...$10 for that?  I don't dare touch Imitation Vanilla, my Grandma Nell taught me that as a babe.  So what to do?  Well, why not make your own!  Turns out, it is a super easy process and MUCH less expensive than the tiny dark jars staring down at you from your grocer's shelf.  Here's how:

Vanilla Beans (Don't let this turn you away.  Go to Beanilla.com for high quality, affordable beans.  I used Madagascar vanilla.  Mexican vanilla is also highly desirable, but any quality bean will do)
Vodka (Yes, I wasn't aware of this either.  Bourbon or Rum also works.)
Sterilized bottle(s) with tight fitting cap

*  Pour vodka into your bottle of choice.  
*  The ratio of vodka to vanilla beans is this:  One cup vodka for 2-3 vanilla beans.  If your beans are on the puny side, use 3.
*  With a sharp knife, about a 1/4 of an inch from the top of the vanilla bean, slice the vanilla bean down to the end.  Do not cut all the way through the bean.  You just want to expose the "caviar" of the bean.
*  You may need to cut your bean in half, depending on the size of your jar.  You want your vanilla beans to be covered completely by the vodka.
*  You can choose to scrape some of the "caviar" out of your beans and put it directly into your jar of vodka.  This will result in a more potent vanilla.
*  Put the cap on your bottle and vigorously shake.
*  Put your vanilla in a cool, dark place.
*  Shake your jar every day or so to help the extraction process along.
*  It takes 6-8 weeks for a good vanilla to develop, but it will continue with the extraction process for 6 months.
*  When your extract gets low, just add more vodka!
*  If you would like a vanilla extract that does not contain the caviar, simply use a coffee filter to filter your vanilla.

You will never buy those little jars again AND your food will taste so much better!  Happy Eating!

By the way, these make GREAT gifts!


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