Yes, there is a bonus post this weekend. But this is a post-in-progress, or pip!™ as I lovingly refer to it. (Just kidding! I did not trademark it. How do people even trademark things? Is it different from copyrighting?? So many questions!!)
Last weekend I began the process of making vanilla extract for my Christmas gifts this year, and since it takes about two months for it to become usable, me posting about it now gives you enough time to gather your ingredients and make some just in time for the holiday as well! The downside to me posting about it now, though, is that the extract just looks like beans floating in water (yum!!!) but I promise that in two months’ time I’ll update the post with pictures of the warm and gloriously brown finished product. But for now, we will just be happy with the notion that things are going on inside that bottle. Vanilla is being extracted! Molecules are absorbing other molecules!! Flavors are dispersing throughout a liquid!!!
|Watching his bottle evolve for two months will be a never-ending thrill ride.|
Also, this recipe calls for the vanilla beans to be cut up into pieces, as this increases the exposed surface area of the beans and allows for more vanilla flavor to be extracted. It is not as pretty as whole beans submerged in liquid, but it is more effective.
After two months, I poured my extract into these little brown bottles and printed some labels I’d made onto this brown craft label paper. I tried making an editable pdf file so that you all could type in your own names, but adobe acrobat was not cooperating. So instead I made a sheet of labels that say “from my kitchen” to share with you all. To download the template click on the link below. The template is to be printed onto an 8.5 x 11 inch label sheet. Makes 12 labels per sheet. Enjoy!
Also, last weekend I held a giveaway for a beautiful poultry roasting dish courtesy of BigKitchen.com, and the winner of the giveaway is….
Congratulations Sara! I’ll be getting in touch with you about your prize shortly. Aaaand without further adieu, here are the instructions for starting your batch of homemade vanilla extract.
DIY: Vanilla Extract & Label Template
- 70-80 Proof Vodka 35-40% Alcohol
- Whole Vanilla Beans 1 to 3 for every cup of vodka, depending on the size of the bean
- Glass Jar or Bottle with Tight-Fitting Cap or Lid sterilized by boiling in hot water
- The video below shows how to prepare the vanilla beans for the extraction process; it is written here as well. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a dull butter knife, scrape out the pulp inside the beans and set the pulp aside. Cut the bean skins into 1 or 2 inch long pieces. Once all of the vanilla beans have been prepared drop the vanilla bean pulp and the vanilla bean skins into your glass jar or bottle. Fill the bottle with the vodka, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal tightly and shake vigorously for 3 minutes.
- Store in cool dark place (I put mine in the back of a kitchen cupboard) and shake once a week for two months. You can begin using the extract after it has aged for two months, and make sure to use all of the extract within a year of the date you made it.
Note: You will need 1 to 3 vanilla beans for every cup of vodka, depending on the size of the bean. If you have long beans (about 7 inches) then you can just use one per cup, but if your beans are short (around 5.5 inches) use 2 or 3. Adjust your ingredient measurements according to the space in the glass jar or bottle you are using for preparation.
2 month resting time
You can begin using the extract after it has aged for two months, and make sure to use all of the extract within a year of the date you made it.
You can leave the vanilla bean bits in the extract as the alcohol will continue to extract flavor from them as time goes on, however minutely.
And after two months of weekly shaking, my extract turned this delightful shade of brown. Smells heavenly!