Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Homemade Vanilla

 One of my latest and favorite DIY projects has been homemade vanilla extract. I've experimented with all kinds of bottles and labels, but these are some of my faves.

I found the great Rooster cork at World Market along with the up-cycled Ginger Root Soda Bottle. The milk glass bottle with the pink bow and the tiny tiny bottle came from Michael's. Last but not least I found the bottle on the far left at my bee supply company. It was only 99 cents! I bought Avery Sticker Paper, printed out my own labels, and used my punches to pop them out.

I learned all kinds of things while researching how to make your own vanilla. For example vanilla is typically 35% alcohol so it is easy to buy your own beans and alcohol to make your own vanilla. In order to make it a true extract you will need to use 8 vanilla beans per 8oz of Vodka. I recommend making your vanilla in a large container of Vodka, and then straining it later when it is ready to use and place in individual bottles. The recipe is simple:

8 vanilla beans per 8 oz of vodka.
Jars or bottles for storing your vanilla. (You can sanitize and remove old flavors by boiling your jars on the stove for 10 min.)

I got my vanilla beans at, here's how they came.

I went with the Madagascar Vanilla Beans, but I really want to try the Tahitian beans next. I also used plain Vodka, but you can use Bourbon or Rum if you want a little extra flavor.

1. The first step is to slice your vanilla beans longwise and remove the "caviar". This can be done by using the tip of your knife or a spoon.

2. Put the caviar and the vanilla beans in the vodka.
At first it will be clear, but as the alcohol and the vanilla beans marinate it will become a rich brown.

3. Let your vanilla sit for at least 2 months. The longer the better! Place it in a spot you will see it and take a minute to shake it up once a week or so. 

4. When you are ready to use your vanilla strain the beans and caviar out by using a coffee filter or some cheesecloth. If you are giving it away you can add back in one or two of the beans for effect.

My favorite thing to do with my leftover beans after I have strained them is to put them in a large jar of sugar and let it sit for a month or so, letting the vanilla beans infuse the sugar with their flavor. You won't be sorry! We like to make both our own vanilla sugar and vanilla sugar cubes to put in Belgian waffles or pancakes. YUM!

Just a note! I experimented with lots of different bottles, but really you are supposed to use a colored glass like the brown glass on the left. The colored or tinted glass is supposed to protect the integrity of the vanilla. 

Hope you Enjoy!

For how to make your own drawer pull corks click here.

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