...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


make your own vanilla extract!

Making your own vanilla extract is so fun!  so easy! and economical! --
You'll wonder while you've waited so long to do it...

It's sooooooo simple.
It's all about the bean, baby. 
And the relationship between the bean, the alcohol, the jar,
and passing time. 

That's it.  And that's all.


Start by getting some good quality vanilla beans from a spice store.
Nice plump beans.  

We've have had great luck sourcing them at My Spice Sage.
They have free shipping, they always include a free gift
and their spices are incredibly fresh. 
They have a huge variety and even carry kaffir lime leaves, which I adore. 
But I digress...

You might notice that there are vanilla beans from Madagascar, Mexico, Tahiti, etc. --
they each have their own flavor profile.  If you want to taste the difference, create a jar of each!

As for how many beans to use, most sources recommend 1 oz of beans per cup of alcohol, 
depending on your beans - that might be 2 beans or 4 beans, depending on their size...

Split your beans lengthwise to open up all that deliciousness.

Some people stop after just splitting the bean open.
But since the point is to expose as many of the fragrant flecks
on the inside of the bean so that they may be "extracted" into the alcohol, 
we do a little more gentle chopping to open them up more...

Some folk scrape the bean flecks out and add them in with the bean shells for maximum exposure.
We did that the first time, but not this time -- we'll see how much of a difference it makes.

Then you simply place your bean pieces inside a glass jar,
and add your alcohol. 

Vodka imparts no additional flavor, so that's what we use.
But some people like to use bourbon to make "bourbon" vanilla beans. 
It's just a matter of preference.

Wait 8 weeks, then strain out your bean pieces, and re-bottle.
As long as you keep your jars away from the light,
it doesn't seem to be critical that you use an amber or brown glass bottle. 

But if you prefer them you can find small quantities of them on ebay
you can also get them at Mountain Rose Herbs (a great company, though shipping is expensive)...
or re-use your old vanilla extract bottles... 

We give ours a gentle shake whenever we think of it.
After just a few days, you can see the process is really at work:


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