I looooove vanilla. I love vanilla beans. I don’t love how expensive they are (8.00 for one freaking bean?! I think not). So, I started hunting around to see if there was a cheaper way around this. That, plus store-bought vanilla extract makes me pretty sick (oh look, another thing to add to the list lol). There must be some wierd preservative in it, because within minutes my heart is pounding, I have a splitting headache and I’m K.O.’d for about 3 hours after… Good times… lol. (How do I know this? I knew for sure when I thought I’d be a big hero and add an entire capful of the stuff to my single serving of gluten free, oat free ‘oatmeal’ to crank it up a notch. Oh I got cranked alright.)
The interesting thing is, I don’t react to the beans themselves (relief!). Just the extract. But, vanilla beans are bloody expensive. I got all sleuthy and decided to see where I could get them cheap… I found a Canadian distributor, Vanilla Food Company that sells them for 59$ a pound (about 100 beans) and an American distributor, Saffron.com that sells them for 45$ a pound (but sometimes there’s extra$ for delivery… as I discovered…).
Either way, less than 1.00 per bean suits me just fine!
I started imagining how cool home made vanilla would be for christmas gifts…. So I hunted around and found a few blogs that feature recipes for it like this one- at Tipnut . From that, I made my own version… Here it is!
Here we go…
Home Made Vanilla Extract
- 5 vanilla beans per cup of alcohol
- your choice of bourbon, vodka, tequila… or any other hard liquor you want to infuse.
- 1 tbsp of sugar per cup of alcohol
- Glass Jars that have lids
- Pour your desired amount of alcohol into your jar. I did small jars- so 1 cup of booze per jar.
- Add 1 tbsp of sugar per cup of alcohol to the jar.
- Split your beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a table knife, add both the pods and seeds to the jar.
- Seal the jar, give it a good shake, and keep in a cool dry place for 4 weeks (or more). Give the jar a good shake at least once a week.
- Done! How cool is that!! (Note: as I bake, I always add the discarded pods to the jar, to make the vanilla stroner as time goes on. Works really well.)
Note: You can use fewer beans, it will just take a bit longer to infuse (try 6-8 weeks). If you have vanilla bean paste, use that instead of the beans, it will work well.