Making Homemade Vanilla Extract (with Vodka and Real Vanilla Beans)
Of the many things that we’re doing currently for the wedding, this particular project probably smells the best. Liz is working on the “gifts” that we’ll be giving each person, and came up with the idea of making our own vanilla extract.
Over the weekend, the vanilla beans she ordered came in the mail and it was a huge bag chock full of them. Having only ever seen dried vanilla beans in the grocery store (where one or two come in a bottle), this was a sight to be behold.
Here’s a closeup of the bag.
Here’s one with the flash, so that the colors are a little more apparent.
Additionally, Liz also ordered three test bottles. She’s not quite sure what size to go with yet, so these were more for comparison purposes. You’ll have to imagine these with a nice little label and maybe a ribbon or two around them.
The process for making vanilla extract is pretty basic – split the vanilla beans so that the seeds are exposed, and dump them in bottles of vodka. They’ll sit for about 2 months, and the whole thing becomes more potent the longer they sit.
Liz can probably correct me if I’ve gotten the details wrong. She’s the one doing this project, and I’m only along for the documentation part of it. She said she got some really funny looks though, when she left Sam’s Wine and Spirits with 5 huge bottles of booze.
Another interesting coincidence: I just noticed that the most recept entry over at The Daily Apple just so happens to be about vanilla beans. And I just learned that vanilla extract peaks at about 2 years, though it can keep pretty much indefinitely. It never goes bad, it just stops improving after 2 years.
I guess we’ll see how things go. I’ll post a few more photos in two months, when we crack these guys open to see how they taste.