Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Vanilla Experiment

Real vanilla is a must in my kitchen.  I haven't bothered with the imitation variety for years, and some of the best vanilla I have used has been gifts from Mexico.  Their vanilla seems so much purer than the types found locally.  I typically purchase mine at Costco since their price just can't be beat.  But recently, I have been reading articles on making your own vanilla.  I'm always up for a fun experiment so when I saw Costco recently selling vanilla beans, I decided to give it a go.  After reading many, many articles on this particular topic, I finally settled on this basic method.

Of course first, you need vanilla beans.  As mentioned above, I purchased mine at Costco:

With the Costco package you get two vials with 5 vanilla beans in each.  And just as a totally unrelated side note, the vials are really cool, and I'm determined to find a useful purpose for them.

I just used pint canning jars for my concoction of vanilla.  My choice was pint jars simply because I have a lot of them on hand.  In each of the three jars I poured one cup of vodka.  And then I placed three vanilla beans in each jar making sure that the beans were pushed down below the top level of the vodka.

The jars then found a home on one of my pantry shelves that remains in the dark, unless of course I need something off of that particular shelf. 

To help the process along, the jars need to be shaken a couple of times a week.  And look here, after just one week, it is starting to look like vanilla:

I read varying reports about how long this whole process takes.  The times varied from 2 to 6 months.  I will probably lean more toward the 6 months, as it only makes sense that the longer it sits, the better flavor it will have.

The only regret I have is that I didn't start this 6 months ago.  Wouldn't it be fun to give homemade vanilla in cute little bottles as gifts for Christmas?  Maybe next year if this works out.

I have one lonesome vanilla bean left over from my original package so I have great plans to make vanilla sugar with that.  I will have to let you know how that works out.


Florence said...

Thanks for sharing! Florence

Sheila said...

It will be fun to see how it turns out for you.

My daughter just told me yesterday that she has plans to make her own vanilla. I have never read about the process but doubt she will be able to do it if it always involves alcohol, seeing as she isn't old enough to buy it yet. Maybe when she's home on Christmas break.

Anonymous said...

It's great with vodka and even more fabulous when made with rum instead. =)

Anonymous said...

I did this last Christmas, and got rave reviews. You can save lots by buying the beans in bulk through Amazon.

Monica said...

Thank you Valerie for your tip on buying the beans at Amazon. I hadn't thought of that avenue.