I have a front hall closet where one can find many things “brewing”. It is a veritable laboratory for making Limoncello, Blood Orangecello, Poire William & Vanilla Extract. It is the gifting time of year and what better gift to bestow on fellow cooks than a bottle of homemade vanilla extract?
The only tricky part is planning ahead. I started this batch a few months ago, every so often stopping by to give it a shake. Otherwise it just sat in the dark steeping…getting darker by the week. It is as “easy as this”…..
It’s December 15 and it is time…to decant, label & do a little gift-giving.
1 liter of vodka, about 10-15 vanilla beans split & a few months
1. Place split vanilla beans down into bottle of vodka. Replace lid & shake. Place in dark closet or cabinet & shake about once a week. I waited 6 months to decant. I started this batch in July. Every week the extract darken and gets a richer looking color.
2. Decant carefully into glass bottles that have been sterilized in boiling water & air-dried. Add a tight-fitting lid. (My extract was very “clean” so I did not strain it, but you can add this step if you have lots of particulates in the liquid.
(There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of recipes on the internet for making your own vanilla extract. My recipe is easy but there are many other good easy recipes available that might suit you better…or make up your own.)
I made labels with a simple roller alphabet stamp (on-line/Paper Source) & plain brown tags. I “sealed” the top of the bottles with sticky backed decorative tape (Martha Stewart at Michaels).
I know that for the most part Vanilla should be stored in dark bottles, but as most folks keep their extracts in a cabinet or pantry I used these pretty clear bottles I already had. You can also find a large assortment of dark bottles at The Container Store if you prefer.
…make it, bake it…give it this Holiday….it’s “easy as that”