Making vanilla extract! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Making vanilla extract!

Someone at work had mentioned that she made her own vanilla extract a couple of weeks ago and I've been reading all about it since. I'm so excited to start my own!

I ordered a TON (ok, almost a pound!) of vanilla beans on ebay for around $25, got a giant bottle of vodka for $15. (I also got a small bottle of rum and brandy to experiment with too).

I had 4 beans I had bought a couple of days before doing my search for inexpensive beans in bulk so I went ahead and started a batch for myself. The rest is going to be given as Christmas presents. Although you CAN use it after 6-8 weeks its best to wait a full 6 months before using. And it gets better with age

Should be getting my beans in a couple of days and will post pictures of the process!

For anyone interested this is the site I found most helpful!

VanillaReview.com Vanilla bean and extract tutorial. Spice gallery and reviews.

The last step is going to be finding bottles for all of the gift extracts. I found a couple of sites but shipping almost doubles the price (still under $1 per bottle). Any idea where I could look for amber glass bottles with lids? I'm not looking for anything fancy (except maybe for a couple of close friends or family members).

Jessie

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 10:11 PM
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Sorry, Jessie. I don't know where to find them.




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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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My extract is done! (well, at least the making it is done, now I have to wait for it to become extract)

My vanilla beans arrived this afternoon. I decided to double the amount I was making and bought another bottle of vodka. Split almost a pound of beans down the middle and cut a good bit in half as they wouldn't all fit in the bottle. Realized I probably made it with 2-3 times more beans than needed, but since it isn't going to be sitting as long as it should I figure it'll balance out.

I found some nice clear glass bottle with corks at Michael's for $1 each. They only had 5 of each, so I ordered 12 more of each to use as Christmas gifts.

I now have 3.5L of extract in the works. Also have various mini bottles of brandy, rum, and bourbon to try as well.

Doing the math:

(2) 1.75L bottles of vodka $25
1 lb vanilla beans $15

Total cost for 3.5L $50

At about 33 ounces per liter the cost comes to about $0.43 per ounce.

The bottles are 4oz. Add the cost of $1 per bottle and you've got a whopping total of under $3 for 4oz of home made vanilla extract. Add a pretty ribbon and I've got Christmas gifts!

Not to mention the fact that since these beans are only "extracting" for about 8 weeks rather than the full 6 months, I plan on straining the extract for gifts and adding more vodka to make another batch with the same beans. It may not come out as well, but its worth a try!

Jessie

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2010, 02:02 AM
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That was a very interesting website! I scrolled down and read about the homemade vanilla extract and it sounds like yours should be awesome. The one I read said it took a week. I'm not sure what you meant by saying 6mo. If you let it soak? age? longer it gets better? ...or do you mean you strain the extract and that ages and gets better?



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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2010, 08:36 AM
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The longer you leave the beans in the more concentrated and better tasting the extract gets. My cousin had a bottle of the extract that she just left the beans in as she used it. It got better tasting and stronger all the time. So much better than that imitation vanilla crap. I think I'm going to make myself some actually because it is SOOO expensive otherwise. Also, I can guarantee it is gluten free!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2010, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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I've read several different opinions. Some saying to use 3 beans per cup of alcohol, others 6, and this site recommends at least 8. Some say its good anywhere between 4 weeks and 6 months. I think the general idea is that its ok and probably pretty good after 6-8 weeks, but that to get the full flavor potential you should wait 6 months.

The big bottles that have TONS of beans are already quite dark. But I think the massive amounts of dark beans play into that a little bit. I have a small mason jar full I started with 4 beans and almost a full cup of vodka I started a few days before I got my big shipment of beans. It already smells amazing

Taking better pictures outside in the sun this afternoon and will post shortly after!

Jessie

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2010, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Picture time!

Take your ton o' vanilla beans...


Split in half (repeat 100 times)...


Stuff into a big jug...



Top off with vodka...


And that's it!

The smaller bottles are much easier to see the color change is it ages:

Day 1


Day 2



And look at the color in the big jug already!!

Jessie

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 02:29 AM
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Oh Bunny! I WANT! Your big jug looks AMAZING!



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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 11:24 PM
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So After reading this thread I am seriously considering this for next year's christmas presents!

The best part though was when I scrolled to the bottom guess what the add was?

"Buy Madagascar vanilla beans!" lol
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-24-2010, 12:21 AM
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Ha! That same ad is showing for me, too!



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