Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vanilla Extract, Part 1

I was searching for something on Allrecipes when I came across a recipe for homemade vanilla extract.  I was intrigued, so I did a little more looking, and found this entry on The Simple Dollar, which led me to this entry on Dangerous Crayon.  Everyone seemed to say the same thing:  Vanilla Extract is insanely easy to make.  Don’t ever buy it again, and while you’re at it, you might as well make some as Christmas gifts.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m telling you about it now because it won’t be ready for 3 months! 

 To make vanilla extract, you will need:
1 1.75 liter bottle mid range vodka (I went with Smirnoff because it was the cheapest mid range, and there was even a $5 rebate attached) ($20.95 before rebate)

12 vanilla beans (27.69 per ½ lb (70 beans), $27.69/70 = $.3956 x 12 = $4.75)(everyone gives a different amount of beans needed, I'm going middle of the road with 12, feel free to add more or less!)

Splitting the beans
Split the beans length wise, leaving one end intact.  Divide the beans between 2 quart mason jars.  Divide the vodka between the jars (alternatively, pour a little vodka out of the bottle and put the beans directly into the bottle). Allow to sit for about 3 months, gently shaking periodically.  

I read that you can pour off ¼ of the vodka after that time and replace it without diluting the strength.  My plan is to have these ready for Christmas.  The Simple Dollar suggests pouring the extract through a coffee filter and bottling it, but I don’t own filters, so I’ll use some cloth.  I’ll update you in a few months with how it’s looking!
A note on buying vanilla beans: The grocery store sells beans for about $3.50 per bean.  Don’t do it.  If you have a co op nearby that sells them in bulk, that’s a great option.  Otherwise, take to the internet!  I got mine on Amazon from Spicy World.  There was a vendor selling the same amount for less, and I originally ordered them, but he said he wasn’t pleased with his stock, so he couldn’t feel good about sending them.  That’s my kind of sales person!  I bought a LOT of beans, you do not need this many.  However, there are plenty of other uses for vanilla beans, and you could go in on a ½ pound with a friend. 

Now it just has to sit for a few months!
Try It:
$25.70 for 1.75 liters, or $.01/ml

Buy It:

$3.77 for 59 ml, or $.06/ml

Looking good numbers wise, but I’ll have to wait till it’s ready to give me final verdict!

Added 11/28/11:
Come on over to Vanilla Extract, Part 2 for the exciting conclusion!

1 comment:

  1. I feel domestic and like I am getting one over on "the man" by making my own extract:) Thanks for the beans and conversation!