Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday Food Craft: Vanilla Extract
With Holidays fast approaching, I decided now was a great time to introduce you to a simple recipe for your very own real Vanilla Extract! This is not only great to use in your own holiday baking (or baking year round), it also makes a great gift for the baker's in your life! Also, it's super easy. Who doesn't love that? If you have a Penzey's Spices near you, I would recommend going there for your vanilla beans. My local grocery stores sell one bean for a whopping 12 bucks, but Penzey's (a national chain) sells 3 for 7 dollars (or more for a smaller per bean price if you are making a lot as gifts). You can also search online to find places that sell vanilla beans in bulk if you are planning on making a large quantity.
To make your own vanilla extract at home you will need:
Glass bottles with caps that seal on tightly
Alcohol of choice (I used Vodka as it has very little flavor of its own, but you may use Rum or Bourbon as well)
I always use a ratio of 1 cup alcohol to 3 vanilla beans, and was lucky enough to find bottles that hold exactly 1 cup. Make sure to measure how much liquid your bottles hold.
Start by sterilizing your bottles. Wash bottles in hot suds and rinse in scalding water. Put bottles and lids in a kettle and cover completely with hot water. Bring water to a boil, covered, and boil bottles 10 minutes from the time that steam emerges from kettle. Turn off heat and let jars stand in hot water. Just before they are to be filled, invert bottles onto a kitchen towel to dry. (Bottles should be filled while still hot.)
I split my beans in half lengthwise, then cut the beans down to pieces that will fit in my bottles (for these bottles cutting in half once lengthwise and once by height was enough). Place 3 beans into each jar and then fill with alcohol. Seal and place on a shelf in a cool dry place (I also keep mine out of direct sunlight). The extract is best if it sits for AT LEAST 30 days before using. If you plan on giving it as gifts, you will want to make sure you leave plenty of time so it may be used immediately.
Here is a link to some printable tags you can use to label your extract. Enjoy!