Okay, I have a few questions! I remember a thread a while back (tried searching and couldn't come up with it) about the best place to buy vanilla extract. Anyone know where I can find that thread, OR, which site that was? Also, what was the brand of vanilla ext. again?
Also, I tried googling for a recipe to make your own vanilla bean paste and only came up with one idea. Has anyone made their own, and if so, will you share your recipe?!
Finally, to make vanilla extract.....I know you can use vodka, bourbon, even rum. What is the favorite alcohol to use for the best flavor? And do you have amounts of alcohol vs. how many beans to put in?
I'm so sorry to bring this up again, I just never thought I'd need to make my own. I'm finding I go through vanilla extract faster than I thought I would and would really like to try making it. Thanks for any/all help!
Hey Callysa! I thought I would answer since I read that thread last year and went ahead and made my own Vanilla Extract. It came out great!
First off, I ordered my organic beans from:
I bought a combination of bourbon and tahitian beans (two different types of vanilla that both smell and taste a bit different). I spent about $20 total including shipping.
I bought a very large, widemouth clasp jar with a rubber stopper. I disinfected it with boiling water. Then I poured 2 gallons of vodka into it. You can used the cheapest vodka around. The clear, untasting vodka will eventually taste like rich vanilla so don't bother spending a lot on vodka.
I cut almost all of the vanilla beans down the middle and scraped out the bean paste with a small paring knife and added it to the vodka. Then I dropped all opened beans into the vodka.
I covered and shook the container for a good 2-3 minutes to really encorporate it the first time. Then I put it ina dark, cool place. Every 2 weeks or so, I would give it a good shake. Every once in a while I opened the jar to smell for freshness. Never had a problem.
The vanilla extract turned deeper and deeper brown and was finally brewed after 8 months. I've heard people say they have done it in less time, but with the amount I made that is what it took for me.
I have also heard other people say they add beans little at a time, as they use them, but I decided not to try to remember to add beans all year and just start it off with a good strong vanilla "base".
At Christmastime last year it was ready. I bought 4 oz. glass jars with screwcaps and bottled all my extract. I decanted all the vanilla into the bottles with a plastic funnel. It made about 60 bottles. I have estimated that the complete cost came to $60 including the jar, vodka and vanilla and bottles.
One last thing: after the vanilla was decanted I took all the beans which were soaked and plump. I added them to a large pot with 5 pounds of sugar and a little water. I made vanilla syrup on low until it reached low-ball stage on my candy thermometer and bottled that as well. I handed all of this as gifts to friends and coworkers. Those who weren't bakers got the vanilla syrup. I kept a few bottles for myself; it is great on waffles, in coffee and over ice cream (plus tons of other ways).
Hope this helps!
I would love to know the answer to that too! I didn't even know that was an option, that would be great!
I have done this and I used Ina Gartens (Barefoot Contessa's) recipe which is 12 vanilla beans into a bottle of vodka. I order my madagascar bourbon vanilla beans from jr mushrooms at $14.95 no shipping for a lot of beans. More than enough to do this recipe and have some left over. I added the beans and let sit in the bottle for about 2 mos. and started using. I have since added more beans and vodka to it, and I add used beans as well. Great stuff!
What I like about the link I sent is that there's a lady on there (somewhere) that gives you proportions and parameters. How many vanilla beans into how much alcohol for how long. Maybe the other recipes have that--but she was the first one that resolved all my questions about making it.
I too make my own vanilla.. the only way to go.. both in price and in quality!!! I won't ever buy store brand again unless I have to!!!