*Making Vanilla Extract*
Why make your own vanilla?
Control the quality, save money, no unwanted additives and having the satisfaction of making it yourself. At the time of this article vanilla extract cost anywhere between $2 to $11 dollars per ounce, depending on brand name and quality. We were able to produce ours for approx. 72 cents per ounce.
1/4 pounds of vanilla beans will make 1 quart of vanilla extract with approx 1 quart of vodka. Just use your math skills to make larger or small batches.
There are several types of vanilla beans on the market; we used Madagascar vanilla beans due to the variety having the strongest and most intense vanilla flavor. We were able to purchase 1 pound of beans for around $30 dollars.
The recipe calls for the cheapest bottom shelf 70- 90% proof vodka you can buy. We used some 100% proof and cut it 20% by volume, with distilled water, to get the desired 80% proof. This brand of vodka cost about $16 dollars for a 1.75 liter bottle.
Prepare the beans by cutting them to length to fit the container of your choice. My wife prefers to cut and split the beans, to obtain maximum exposure with the vodka, to get the best end product.
This batch was being made for Christmas gifts, so she chose to put some of it into decorative bottles purchased from a dollar store and will add a custom label later.
You can make the vanilla extract in bulk and add the end product to your decorative containers later when the process is done. Some people prefer to filter the extract with cloth or coffee filters to remove the left over beans and particles; again, it depends on what you prefer. We like to wait at least 30 days before using the vanilla, but we also think it gets better with age.
You will get the best results if you give your bottles a quick shake daily for the first 30 days and store them out of direct sunlight at room temperature.
This picture was day 1, showing the color when it was first made.
This picture was taken 20 days later, showing how the rich color has developed as it nears the final stages of becoming vanilla extract.
That’s all there is to it! Enjoy the fruits of your labor…TexasOK & Texasoksunset
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