Friday, March 2, 2012

Homemade Pure Vanilla!

Yum! Well not in this picture. In the past I bought Vanilla from Mexico which is really good and inexpensive. I haven't been to Mexico in a while and needed some vanilla. I had someone else pick me up some from Mexico but it wasn't very good so, I threw it out. Then I bought some imitation vanilla from the grocery store. Well that was really bad! So then I bought some from Costco. You used to be able to purchase "Pure" vanilla from Costco. Now their vanilla has added water and still says "Pure" on the label. I had heard somewhere that you could make your own vanilla. Why not? Little did I know what it was a long process! Making vanilla has tried my patients only because I like instant results. I'm not very patient! 

After looking all over the internet I found most recipes were identical. It is actually pretty easy to make vanilla it just take a long time to cure. Basically Vanilla is 1 cup Vodka and 10 vanilla beans. If you put less vanilla beans into your alcohol you will have a week vanilla. The most common alcohol used is Vodka but I have heard from family and friends that rum and spiced rum also makes a good vanilla. 

Once I figured out how to make the vanilla I needed to find out where to buy vanilla beans. Oh and who knew that there are different types of vanilla beans? From reading online it looked like Grade B "Bourbon Madagascar" were the best to use.  I ended up finding them on Ebay and I bought them from Vanilla Products USA. I bought a half a pound of the Grade B Bourbon Madagascar beans and they came with 10 free Tahitian Vanilla Beans.   I could tell a difference between the two beans. The Bourbon Madagascar beans are darker and more potent than the Tahitian beans. I received the beans 2 days after ordering them! Now I needed to go buy the Vodka!??? I am not a drinker so I don't know the first thing about alcohol. What is a good price? Is generic brand ok to use? I felt kind of funny going to the grocery store to check out their prices on Vodka. I ended up buying Albertson's brand of Vodka in the 750ml size. This is approximately 7 cups of alcohol. The half pound of beans is about 60 beans. So I used 2 wide mouth jars, sliced the vanilla beans in half and put them into the jar, then poured 3 cups of Vodka into each jar and then tightened the lids on top. With the 10 free Tahitian vanilla beans I used a pint size jar, the rest of the vodka which was about a cup and then tightened the lid on top. Put a date on the top of the lids so you can remember when you started to make the vanilla. The recipes say to let the vanilla beans cure for 6 weeks, store in a cool dark place (mine are in my closet) and shake every once in a while. Well at 6 weeks you have flavored Vodka! After talking to others who have make their own vanilla I am waiting 6 months before using! Here is a picture 3 months later. The Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla is darker than the Tahitian Vanilla but I can smell both of them threw the jars! I can hardly wait for 3 more months to pass buy to start using my vanilla! 

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