Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vanilla Extract

Ever wonder why you pay obscene amounts of money for vanilla extract?  You could say "yes" b/c the product you purchase is so damn good its worth it.  Well, Im here to tell you... It all about the bean, baby!

Have a good vanilla bean, you can make even better extract.  Now, the bean itself is still pricey. Why? Vanilla beans are grown from orchids and take up to 11 years per bean to fully develop.  To top it off, the majority of the world's vanilla beans come from Madagascar. BUT if your lucky you can get Tahitian, Mexican, or Indian Vanilla beans ;)  And if your REALLY lucky, fresh vanilla beans are simply heavenly.  Fresh being plump, moist vanilla beans, not the dried beans found most commonly. 

So how to make will be amazed at its simplicity.  Oh, I am so excited to tell you! Vodka and vanilla beans!  I use a flip-top bottle, so the beans will go in but will never come out. 

To start, find the right bottle you want to use.  Place 3-4 beans in the bottle and fill to the top with vodka.  Place bottle in a dark place to sit for 6 months to a year (depending on the bottle size).  Once the color darkens, the extract is ready!  When you start to run low on extract (you can see Im getting there ) just refill with vodka.  It doesnt have to sit untouched like the first time.   Over the years, it just gets better!

And talk about gifts!!! Bakers will love to receive homemade vanilla extract :) Try Beanilla for a variety of beans and bottles.


Bryan said...

That has got to be the coolest thing that I have seen! I love this kind of thing, taking food from the roots out. I have some connections, but a fresh vanilla bean dealer isn't on my list yet. I guess I will have to keep looking.


Paula from Amen Corners said...

I bake with vanilla bean paste all the time and put vanilla beans in my white sugar. I have yet to make my own vanilla extract, only because I don't think I could wait 6 months to a year for it to ferment!
For all things vanilla visit this site Lots of information and recipes!

RocknRollGourmet said...

Definitely trying this!!

Brent said...

Definitely give it a try! I also suggest experimenting with different types of vanilla beans.

8 different kinds of vanilla beans (Yes, 8!) are available at Beanilla Trading Company ( Their prices are amazing too... some start at only $1.50 per bean for really fresh, extremely plump and moist beans.

Hope this helps!

Fork1 said...

Thanks Brent, I didnt know that but I will definitely be stopping by! Great to know and I will share with people!

Bryan said...

Yeah Brent, thanks I will be looking too!

Velva said...

This is a wonderful reminder that vanilla extract is easy to make and would make a wonderful gift for your foodie friends. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

Julie said...

I had no idea it took that long for a vanilla bean to grow! Saw some reasonably priced ones at Sprouts yesterday, may give this a try!

Binky said...

What?? I am SHOCKED at the simplicity!! I have a ton of vanilla beans given to me as part of a wedding present almost a year ago! And all this time, I couldve made extract and saved TONS of money???? Shhh! Well, thank you for sharing!! ^_^

I will have to write about this discovery on my cake decorating techniques blog!!

Brent said...

Glad I could help!!!

Happy cooking :o)

ale balanzario said...

Thanks so much for this tip, I will go to get some vanilla beans :)

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