Vanilla extract, you delicious devil, you. You cost me an arm and a leg every time I run out, but I keep on coming back for more. Luckily, I read way too much stuff on the internet, which eventually lead me to finding out that YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN VANILLA EXTRACT.
This is a definite game changer. Usually, when you see ‘make your own’ it costs about $3,000 worth of equipment and ingredients you ‘just have lying around the house’ aka absolutely nothing I ever have in my house. It also usually takes hours upon hours of work. Vanilla extract? Takes two ingredients, and one item you will probably already have. The other? Not so hard to find. It also takes 5 minutes to get it started.
I read some posts about making your own vanilla and thought, well, I can totally do that. I pinned it to the back of my mind and added it to the list of things to get at a bulk food store or a fancy marketplace. But, the universe had a different schedule for me. I found vanilla beans by happenstance at Costco just after reading about making your own vanilla. Feeling the powers of fate, I grabbed the $20ish tube of vanilla beans and threw it ceremoniously into my cart.
I haven’t had a chance to taste my vanilla as I haven’t made anything that requires it since it hit the infusing time of 4 – 6 weeks. But, all the recipes seem to be the same online, and I mean, unless your alcohol or vanilla bean is different, it will end up the same. Here’s what I did:
What you’ll need:
– a glass jar (I fretted for a while about buying an amber jar like everyone has on Pinterest, and then realized that a good ol’ mason jar will do the trick. Luckily, I have a big box full of them)
– vanilla beans
– alcohol. Preferably vodka, rum or bourbon
What you’ll do:
*clean your jars and sterilize them. I mean, alcohol is going in, but sterilization is still fun*
– start by splitting your bean in half and jam it into the jar
– pour alcohol over the bean until jar is filled, you run out, or you decide that’s enough vanilla
– let sit for 4-6 weeks
THAT’S IT! Super easy, right?
I used my Costco vanilla beans which, apparently, have a more fruity and floral taste to them. We’ll see what happens **UPDATE: it’s delicious**. My alcohol was a white rum and I got a little experimental with some Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey. I know. I know, whiskey isn’t the same as bourbon. But! It’s got a lot of the same characteristics, plus that honey got me thinking of delightful sugar cookies.
This is what they look like after 8 weeks of infusing. There are a few vanilla floaters in there, but if that’s something you’re not into you can just strain it out into a new jar by using a cheesecloth:
I’ve since been making my vanilla from scratch and this is the only way I’m going to go from now on. It’s so flippin’ easy and tastes so much better than store-bought vanilla. At least, in my mind. I’ve experimented with different types of liquors and they all taste relatively the same, just with a slight difference to them. I’ve a spiced rum vanilla sitting in my cupboard right now getting nice and ready for baking season to begin!