We are making vanilla extract today. This is the real stuff, not vanillin which is a by product from paper making known and widely sold as Imitation Vanilla. So it really is pretty easy, it just takes patience. We purchase our vanilla beans from http://www.vanillaproductsusa.com/servlet/StoreFront . The beans come from the orchid. We even have a few of beans directly from Uganda, if you happen to be traveling there you can pick some up!
The Skinny of It…
Cut vanilla beans, stick in jar with liquor, seal, shake and wait!
Find a bottle, glass is best, dark glass is even better. Clean and sterilize with boiling water. You will need 2-3 vanilla beans per cup of liquor. Fill most of the bottle with liquor, slice open the vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife to expose the seeds inside. Slip the whole bean into the bottle then fill the remainder with liquor. You may use any type of liquor, but it is common to use Vodka because it is more or less flavorless, however some love Rum. I used Vodka this time. Seal and shake. Then place it in a dark dry place like a cabinet, and shake weekly for 2 months. Over time you will notice your liquid getting dark. 2 months later…viola your Real Vanilla Extract is ready for your favorite creations. When pouring it out do not use the vanilla bean pod, just the extract. I promise to follow this up with our dear Valerie’s Real Vanilla Cheesecake
Just Keep it going
Don’t let your bottle run dry just refresh it indefinitely by refreshing with more vodka and more vanilla beans and it will always be ready for your vanilla needs. It will not go bad as it is primarily alcohol, and do not worry it cooks out during baking!