How to Make: Homemade Vanilla Extract
You will need:
- Approx. 4 plump vanilla pods split lengthways *see recipe intro above
- 100 ml vodka or white rum [I used Havana Club white rum left over from our Cuban travels]
- 100 ml glass bottle
- small funnel
- Push the split vanilla pods into the bottle, you might need to squish them around a little to get them to fit. Using a small funnel pour in the alcohol to come to the top of the bottle. Secure the lid, give it a little shake and place it on a windowsill out of direct sunlight. Every few days give it a little shake - it helps to have it in your kitchen so you remember.
- Watch over the coming weeks as it darkens in colour. After about 4 weeks it should be good to go, in the middle of winter when it is really cold it might take longer. The best indication of the extract being ready is the colour and smell, it should smell more like vanilla than alcohol. Now it is ready to use in cooking, leave the pods in the bottle to keep adding flavour.
- Once you get to the end of the bottle you can get one more extraction from the vanilla pods, simply repeat as above. Once the pods are spent the second time around I use tweezers to remove them and start again with new plump vanilla pods.
Today I am introducing a new category to Homegrown Kitchen where I share a homemade kitchen essential. Although it is not the first time I have shared a homemade staple ingredient and have included a list below of others you may be interested in.
To kick it off I am unraveling one of natures finest products and the simplest of pantry essentials to create – vanilla extract. I am yet to find someone who does not like vanilla – occasionally I come across someone who can’t stand chocolate – but so far not vanilla. I once read somewhere that the areola, the darker circle of flesh around a woman’s nipple, releases a subtle vanilla scent to entice a newborn baby to the breast. If this is true, then it most certainly explains why we love vanilla, because it makes us feel loved and nurtured. Then again, that theory may just be a myth – as my Dad always told me ‘believe nothing of what you hear [read], and only half of what you see’. In any way it sounds plausible to me and makes for a good story.
To make homemade vanilla extract is really very easy. The actual doing time is short and then you just need to be patient. I like to leave my extract to properly brew for a good month. We go through a fair amount of vanilla, I must put it into almost every sweet thing I make including pancakes and french toast. So I constantly have several small bottles in rotation. One in use in the pantry, and one brewing on the windowsill.
Read on for the recipe, and here are several links to more Homemade goodness on Homegrown Kitchen:
p.s. Homegrown Kitchen Calendar Update. THANK-YOU to all of you have pre-ordered a 2015 CALENDAR. I have been blown away with the response and will be a busy bee packing and sending off calendars after I collect them from the printers tomorrow.