- Tried & Tasted -

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

A few years ago, I bought a batch of vanilla beans from this Australian website. While writing this page, I went back to look at the website and was shocked that prices of vanilla pods had rose tremendously.

When the vanilla was delivered to my doorsteps, the smell permeating from the package gave the content away, even though they were vacuum packed. I was quite taken aback by the amount of beans (100 pieces). I got myself 2 good quality, air tight container and bought 2kg of fine sugar to trap as much of the fragrance as possible. I layered the container with a thin layer of sugar and topped it with a layer of beans, followed by another layer of sugar, followed by another layer of beans. This not only preserve the beans, the sugar that the beans are kept in, instantly becomes vanilla sugar (very good to use in baked goods or to sweeten English tea). 

I saw others making homemade vanilla extract and was quite keen to try out. True enough, it was easy, cheaper and the flavour is just like the store bought ones, if not better. 

Vodka (rum will work too but I just wanted pure vanilla flavour) was my choice of alcohol to extract the pure vanilla flavour. I took 40 vanilla pods, split them lengthwise and place them in a clean, sterilized glass bottle. Do not use plastic bottle. Then I topped the bottle with almost the whole bottle of VODKA! Make sure the pods are immersed in the alcohol. Now, you will need to sit and wait for 1 week to get to use the homemade pure vanilla essence. Give the bottle a jiggle once in a while through the week so as to help the process along. 

You will observe that the vodka will gradually turn brown, as it extract the flavour and color from the vanilla pods. There is no expire date for the essence as vodka will keep the content indefinitely. I top up the bottle with vodka as I use the extract.
Things you need:
40 pods of vanilla beans, split
1 glass bottle, clean and dry
1 liter of Vodka

Steps to extract:
  • One clean, sterilized and dry glass bottle.
  • Split the vanilla pods lengthwise and placed them into the glass bottles.
  • Pour vodka into the bottle until the pods are immense.
  • Cover and leave the bottle in the fridge for at least 1 week. 
Use it in any recipe that calls for vanilla essence. For those of you who have been using imitation vanilla essence, you will definitely smell and taste the difference. Use the real thing, it will do your baking good. :)

This is a smaller bottle that I made earlier. The color is so dark that you cannot see the vanilla pods at all.

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