Thursday, February 4
Homemade Vanilla Extract
It couldn't be easier to make. You need a bottle with a tight-fitting lid, (I pulled mine from our recycling bin) three vanilla beans and a cup of vodka. Cut the beans length-wise leaving a 1" end intact. Put the beans in the bottle and cover with alcohol. Put the bottle in a dark place for 6-8 weeks. The really cool part is that, as you use the extract, you pour more vodka in to maintain a supply to last for years and years!
By the way, mine is already dark because I didn't use vodka. I bought Jack Daniel's because it's fairly local and I'm curious to see if it lends a more mellow flavor than a more 'pure' alcohol like vodka.
In my search for recipes and tips, I learned why this extract is so expensive. Each bean is the result of hand-pollination and is harvested by hand and requires a long curing process.