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.
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.
Drop your cut, slitted, vanilla beans into your empty clean glass bottle. Place the funnel into the top of the bottle.
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.
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