Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade vanilla extract
It is a lovely day here at Wildflower, the weather is nice not too cold, we have wispy clouds, and sunshine, and it feels like early spring. Inside, I am wasting time and doing just the usual up keep. I have a roast in the crock pot, with some olive oil and rosemary. Later, I will make some mac and cheese, with whole wheat high fiber pasta. I can smell the roast and rosemary cooking as I take a break to share a small project I just did while my roast cooks and I have nothing better to do.
Ingredients for farm fresh vanilla extract
First gather your ingredients, of which there are only two. Vodka, and vanilla beans!
Things you will need to make vanilla: The ingredients (vanilla beans and vodka,) a glass bottle, small cutting board, small sharp knife, a small kitchen funnel that fits into the top of your clean empty glass bottle.
This is a super simple farm project. Gather your vanilla beans, usually 4-6 beans is a good number. Gather them into a bundle lined up, slice across the center cutting them in half. Then slice open the long way each half of bean.
Clean glass bottle with Vanilla beans inside.
Drop your cut, slitted, vanilla beans into your empty clean glass bottle. Place the funnel into the top of the bottle.
Vanilla Extract under construction.
Begin pouring slowly the vodka into your bottle through the funnel at the top and slowly fill your clean glass bottle with vodka, fill it up as high as you like so long as you can cork it or cap it somehow.
Label your Vanilla Extract
If you like, label the outside of your clean glass bottle, if you like. Often included on the label would be, what is in the bottle, vanilla extract, what date was it first made? Today, is 1/5/2020. And who made it, Wildflower Farm. Though on your bottle, you will want to put information that applies to your own creation. Or no label is even necessary, it’s not as if alcohol goes bad.
The last step, is putting it somewhere dark for at least two weeks. Usually I let it sit a month picking it up every few days to shake it to mix it every couple of days.
Interestingly, you can do something similar with lavender flowers in place of vanilla beans, or sprigs of mint, or cinnamon sticks…. Or any number of flavorful common kitchen staples.
I actually did not learn to do this living on my farm. I started making my own extracts years ago, when I lived in Vienna Austria, for my husband’s job. They don’t have vanilla there. One day I needed some chocolate chip cookies a traditional flavor of home. So, ended up creating my own. The rest is history. I found I liked mine better than the week store bought stuff I would buy in the baking section. And so, though I live again where I can just buy it at the store, I still prefer to just make it myself.
In time, vanilla takes on the color of the beans gradually. You know it is done when it is quite dark in color. Then it is ready to use however you like. I will post a photo and make another post showing it ready to use at a later date.
Nice homemade bottles of vanilla are not expensive to make. They also make excellent gifts.
Thank you so much for joining me in this project.
I find making things at home somehow fulfilling.
Thank you for reading about this simple little project.
Amanda of Wildflower Farm
Tags: acreage, agriculture, agro, airbnb, B&B, baking, bed and breakfast, BnB, cooking, country crafts, crafting, crafts, farm, farm blog, farm crafts, farm gift ideas, farm gifts, farm wife, farm wife blog, farmer, farming, farmstead, food, guest house, handmade, handmade farm crafts, handmade vanilla, handmade vanilla extract, homemade, homemade extract, homemade gifts, homemade vanilla extract, homestead, homestead blog, homestead farm, homestead wife, homestead wife blog, homesteader, homesteading, inn keeper, inn keeper's blog, inn keeping, kitchen crafts, lifestyle blog, lodging, new england, new england farm, new england homestead, new england homestead farm, old fashioned housewife, old fashioned living, places to stay in MA, simple living, Tourism, travel, vanilla, vanilla extract, wildflower farm
Wildflower Farm, is a small New England homestead, B&B and AirBnB, in the Baystate. We came out here 7 years ago, when we returned from the better part of 10 years as peripatetic aristotelian nomads, for my husband's post docs. Upon our return, we had a plan. We had a lovely home. Everything was so clear. Then, I got sick. Things I used to eat all the time during our travels elsewhere in the world and even here before I left almost 10 years earlier made me ill. It took a couple trips to the ER and a trip to specialist... It became clear, something had changed in the way food is processed in this country since last I lived here. Some off label things was inevitably going to be my demise.
My husband and I looked around to see the clear path we were on, had exploded in front of us. We decided we had to create a new path for ourselves. We put children on hold. We found a small piece of land with a house we loved in a rural suburb in a right to farm area. I began researching how to do it ourselves. Grow it ourselves, make it ourselves, survive on our own as much as possible. We bought the property, and began plotting a new course. One that didn't involve off label chemicals. Closer to nature, with a lot more DIY, gardens, and animals for the products they provide. We created a life we loved though it hasn't always been easy and has of course come with compromise with each other, and even with ourselves.
Our family thought we had lost our minds. What were we doing leaving the city? We had no idea how hard this would be. They thought we would be back in 6 months. That was over 7 years ago, now. We have been making it work. They were not wrong, it isn't easy. But has anything worth doing ever been easy? And for us, avoiding as much store bought food as possible was simply necessary so I could live given how sick I was getting.
Then Covid hit.... We were lucky to have this place. It has allowed us a lot less need for public use territories which has kept us a lot safer and spared us much of the risk others face daily. This place, has given us a privilege through this of great meaning to us. To be of use in a difficult time. We have been able to help friends family and even strangers in need when things couldn't be found on store shelves. Or money was tight due to not working, rent being due and a child at home, or some other draining situation. We are so very grateful to have been able to not be helpless like so much of society through this miserable time. Our families, got used to it some time ago, us being out here. They made peace with it the day there was no bread and they had to ask me for some. Or when fresh vegies were rotten due to supply chain issues but they could find plenty in my garden.
Wildflower Farm, was a place I dreamed of. One of those sweet pastoral dreams a city dweller grows up knowing will never come true, that became unavoidable when I became ill. I never expected to get to do this. I never thought I had what it takes to make this work. I have learned pacing myself is important, compromise is critical, hard work never ends, burn out is real so breaks are just a necessary evil.
We are not fully self sufficient, but we work hard in that direction as we create a new path through life for ourselves, always reaching to do even more ourselves and to get closer to the ideal we envision. We are however far more self sufficient than many in this world. 7 years in, we continue to learn and grow in this homesteading lifestyle. We welcome comments and advice and ideas and questions.
We welcome visitors from all over to our home with strict covid policies in place. We spend our time learning to live all over again in a more environmental and sustainable way though even there we are far from perfect always learning and growing doing better as we know better.
This little homestead farm is a magical place named for the New England wildflowers that grow all around. A place where a physicist, watches the night sky on clear nights with the aide of mirror and glass, and a woman, works endlessly in the gardens, the kitchen, and a variety of projects to create and to keep a very unique life style running and functioning. Wildflower Farm, has become so much more than simply a piece of land we can grow a few vegetables on. The longer I spend here, the more alive the land seems, the more I learn about it's function and the more meaning it has. My place in the universe and the next steps on our new path become ever more clear.
We welcome you on this journey with us.