First memory-homemade vanilla
Vanilla is a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas-the seasons of heavy baking. Homemade vanilla can be a ‘running’ project. I have a mason jar that I throw new beans into every few months, along with the old beans (there is a woman in one of my cooking groups on Facebook that has a bottle with beans pushing 50 years old. That’s dedication.) and top it off every few months.
We came across a random bottle of Mr. Boston vodka. Neither of us drin it, we don’t know why it’s here. But my bottle is now topped off and my home smells of vanilla.
Vanilla extract is one of the easiest preservation projects that you can make. It’s time intensive but it’s certainly not complicated.
Good quality vanilla extract isn’t hard to find, but it’s expensive. Making it at home lets you control quality, and it’s cheaper.
1 mason jar, or similar (I used a pint jar)
Vodka-good enough to drink but not high quality or expensive, enough to fill the jar
1-2 good quality vanilla beans*
1. Slice a line down the middle of the vanilla bean. You can cut the bean in half to get it to fit into the jar.
2. Place the bean in the jar and cover it with vodka.
3. Let sit some place cool, sealed, and shake every once in awhile for 6-8 weeks.
4. Use like any other extract.
I’ve heard that you can let the bean dry out and then store it in sugar to make light vanilla sugar but I can’t vouch for that.
Vanilla beans can get pricey, but you can purchase in bulk online and split an order which will make it much less expensive.