By Erin Baldwin
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Looking for a simple project to do this weekend?
Try making homemade vanilla extract. You will never buy store-bought varieties again.
Ingredients: Vanilla Beans (any variety) and Vodka (or Bourbon, Rum or Brandy)
Ratio: 5 beans to 1-cup vodka
Directions: Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise in half and put them into a glass container.
Pour in vodka, close the jar, and store in a cool, dry place.
Shake the jar every week or so.
Wait eight weeks or more, and then your extract will be ready to use.
I purchased vodka from a local distillery, Smooth Ambler Spirits in Maxwelton and ordered Madagascar vanilla beans from Beanilla.
In about eight weeks or more, once the extraction process is complete, you can strain the extract into another bottle or simply leave in the beans and the extract will continue to age and evolve.
As you use the extract, you can continue to add alcohol and, if the extract begins to thin over time, add more beans to keep your extract going for years.
For my first time making extract I decided to use the standard recipe with Madagascar vanilla beans and vodka but you can get as creative as you like, experimenting with other types of vanilla beans and spirits.
Pair up your extract with some decorative glass bottles and you have the perfect homemade gift.