For Those Who Make Their Own Vanilla Extract

Baking By zespri Updated 7 Sep 2011 , 3:41am by scp1127

zespri Posted 6 Sep 2011 , 10:46am
post #1 of 13

Hi guys

I decanted my first batch of vanilla extract into wee bottles tonight, after steeping it for six months. I compared it with my store bought vanilla, and it is a similar colour, with a LOT more seeds in it, yay icon_smile.gif

However, all the seeds are clumped together, whereas my store-bought vanilla seeds are all nicely seperated. There is sugar syrup in my store-bought stuff, and I am wondering if that's what keeps the seeds seperate. The fellow I bought the vanilla pods from said to use two teaspoons of sugar per 200ml of vokda/brandy.

So my questions. Do your seeds clump together? Do you use sugar?

12 replies
Ursula40 Posted 6 Sep 2011 , 11:46pm
post #2 of 13

I shake the bottles vigorously before using, mixing it in the batter does the rest

Cindy619 Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 12:02am
post #3 of 13

I let mine age in a growler for 6+ months then pour it into a smaller container whenever I need a refill. Honestly I never see any seeds in mine. I do shake the day lights out of the growler before I pour it, so maybe that breaks up the seeds. Do you split the beans before you add them or do you scrape off the seeds into the alcohol? I just split the beans and it works beautifully.

zespri Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 12:05am
post #4 of 13

@Ursula: the problem is they are clumped in relatively few clumps. so when they come out, they'll ALL come out, not leaving many behind in the bottle.

@Cindy619: Firstly, what on earth is a growler? lol.... sounds interesting! Yes, I do split the beans, then scrape out some seeds. I love the way the seeds look.

zespri Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 12:08am
post #5 of 13

One more question: does anyone ever have whitish, foggy stuff in theirs? When I transferred the essence to the smaller bottles, I re-scraped the beans to get as many seeds out as possible. Some of them had this white stuff in them, and it's kinda grossing me out! Not pure white, I just can't think how else to describe it. It's murky. Mould is probably extremely unlikely as it's in vodka, but what could it be? It's not vanillin, wikipedia says that forms on the OUTSIDE of the bean, not the inside.

Cindy619 Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 12:14am
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by zespri

@Cindy619: Firstly, what on earth is a growler? lol.... sounds interesting! Yes, I do split the beans, then scrape out some seeds. I love the way the seeds look.

A growler is a glass jug typically used for transporting beer. My husband brews his own beer, so I just "borrowed" one of his containers icon_smile.gif I just split the seeds and throw them in - no scraping. So I guess that explains why I never see any clumps. I was starting to think maybe I needed bifocals - ha!

Ursula40 Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 12:14am
post #7 of 13

No idea what that whte stuff is, it's not in mine. I don't refill into smaller bottles either, just use it straight out of the big bottle, too lazy I guess

scp1127 Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 2:29am
post #8 of 13

I make my own and it is incredible. I use 2 c Grey Goose Vodka and 16 beans, halved and split. I can use it starting at 4 months. I don't use sugar.

It is very important to sterilize your bottle and the top, plus the measuring cup you use to measure the vodka. Any of these not sterilized can cause mold. I use a mason jar. I have about $33.00 in every two cups, so I am very careful about the sterilization. Plus I make sure that the spoon I use to get some out is completely clean.

zespri Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 2:36am
post #9 of 13

Everything was squeaky clean, I ran the bottle nad cap through the dishwasher four times to make sure it was clean. I didn't use a measuring cup, just poured the vodka directly in.

There was no 'white stuff' in it until I re-scraped the beans. It is from inside the pods.

lyndim Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 2:47am
post #10 of 13

I made my first batch a few months ago, still waiting for the end result! I didn't use any sugar, will that make a big difference?

scp1127 Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 3:10am
post #11 of 13

zespri, I don't know unless the beans had something in them. But we can't know that ahead of time. I'm not really getting my beans out because I keep getting the teaspoons off of the top. I always use a combo of homemade and paste, so I have plenty of seeds showing.

My beans come from Olive Nation and if I ever had a problem, I could email them. You could email that company and say you were referred and ask what it could be. In the future, they do have great beans for the price and a very knowledgeable staff. The owner usually answers the phone and emails.

But anyway, does the white stuff affect the taste or is it just not looking right? My dad owned a feed and seed store when I was young. I've seen lots of stuff inside plants and vegetables. Not necessarily bad, but just there. It could be anything. But hopefully something just from the sugar.

zespri Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 3:16am
post #12 of 13

I didn't add any sugar, just vodka and the vanilla. It's kinda suspended inside the fluid, so I think I'll run it through a sieve and get rid of it. Like you say, chances are it's OK, and the alcohol would likely kill (or suppress) anything wicked.

My friend just found this somewhere:

"The alcohol (35%) should kill anything in the bottle. I usually get this, and I believe it to be sediment and other stuff that manufacturers filter from their vanilla. I usually decant my bottle carefully to leave the sediment and caviar at the bottom of the bean soak bottle. Repeat for clearer vanilla."

scp1127 Posted 7 Sep 2011 , 3:41am
post #13 of 13

I would use it. Alcohol makes a worm edible. I think it just happened to be something in the pod. Sorry, someone mentioned sugar and I didn't look close enough to see if it was you.

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