A vanilla extract is a wonderful aromatic essence used in a variety of recipes specially desserts. Commercially bought vanilla essence is most of the times impure and has plenty of sugar syrup which is unhealthy too.
Homemade vanilla is economical and fun to make. Imagine having your own bottle of vanilla extract always ready in the fridge. To make vanilla extract you need a handful of vanilla beans that are produced in various countries and comes in all varieties.
- Ingredients: You really need to have a good knowledge of vanilla beans before plunging into this recipe. Premium grade vanilla beans produce good results. Not all vanilla beans are of the same quality, color and flavor. For this vanilla extract recipe you need 3-4 vanilla beans, 1 cup Vodka, a glass jar with a tight lid.
- Process: Cut the vanilla beans using a sharp knife or a kitchen scissor, by slitting it length wise. Leave the ends without making any slits. Place the vanilla beans in the glass jar you bought for making vanilla. A glass jar is recommended as it gives a clear view and the color changes also throughout the process. After placing the beans in the jar, pour the vodka on top of it and cover the jar tightly with the lid. Shake well and keep in a dark and cool place.
- Completion: Keep your jar in a cupboard for at least 8 weeks. During this phase you will notice the change in color and a beautiful aroma of vanilla essence. Keep shaking the bottle or the jar, after every few days. After 2 months or so, the vanilla extracts turns amber in color and smells great. You can pour it in small bottles for use or for gifting too. This homemade vanilla would last for years. You can keep topping it with a little vodka to keep the flavor fresh.
Tips and Warnings
- While pouring vodka in the glass jar, make sure that the beans are fully covered with vodka in the jar. You can also opt for brandy instead of vodka.
- If you intend to use your vanilla mostly for baking, you can also add granulated sugar while preparing the extract. It will give that sweet, syrupy taste to your vanilla which would be ideal for baking cakes and cookies.