Why make your own vanilla extract? Well let’s see. It’s easy to make. You’ll never run out of vanilla again. It might even be economical, given that you’ll never run out of it. It’s fun to watch the extract change colors? I don’t know. Vanilla beans are produced in several countries, and Garrett has a good write-up on his site regarding the differences between the varieties – Madagascar, Bourbon, Tonga, Mexico, Tahiti, etc.
Did you know that each vanilla bean comes from an orchid that has been pollinated by hand? Once the vanilla seed pod has developed, it must be hand picked as well. After picking the curing process takes several months. So if you’ve ever wondered why vanilla extract, and especially vanilla beans, can be so expensive, this is why.
How to Make Vanilla Extract
Commercial vanilla extract usually has simple syrup (sugar water) added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste. You can do this if you want, but if you are using the vanilla for baking, there really is no need.
- 3 vanilla beans
- 1 cup vodka
- glass jar with tight fitting lid
1 Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected.
2 Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka.
3 Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.
Lasts for years. You can keep topping it off with vodka once in a while as you use it, just remember to give it a good shake.
You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. Great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking.
A couple different perspectives of the City. As you can see I am enthralled by man-made structures. They consume me.
Thanks to Ryan Struck for the visual aids. He took us on an entertaining journey from Monmouth, NJ to North Bergen. A city that overlooks the skyline of all New York. Such an amazing view. Seeing this part of Jersey has changed my perception of the Garden State. Its quite appealing.
After spending the weekend on the Outerbanks, competing, reuniting with old comrades, sipping on Pacifico, we are off to New Jersey. An unsuccessful competitive run at the Outerbanks Pro had each of us feeling dejected, however, a redeeming surf session before our departure lifted spirits. Michael bowed out in the quarter finals, so not an absolute failure of a performance. After hightailing northward to Virginia Beach, spending the night with the Dunphy family, we are off to Monmouth, New Jersey. Spending an extended period of time in the confinement of the car, we opened discourse on a multitude of topics. One of striking interest: poultry farming.
Becoming increasingly curious and, more so, increasingly perplexed on how our current state of mass food production is taken out in our country, the two of us decided to take a stop at one of the passing Tyson Food Co. facilities in Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula…