A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Homemade Vanilla

Making your own vanilla is easy and there's no comparison in the richness of vanilla flavor of homemade versus commercial brands.  You simply split three vanilla beans and put them in a glass jar with a cup of vodka (or bourban), cover it and store it in a cool, dark place for a few months.  It's cheaper than commercial products too.

I like to make mine now so it's ready for holiday baking.  I make a double-strength vanilla, saving one bean out for vanilla sugar.

I order Madagascar beans from Penzey's online (they come in threes).
I use a 375ml bottle of vodka and add 5 split beans to it.

The sixth bean I split almost to the top and insert in a jar of sugar for vanilla sugar.  Vanilla sugar is excellent for donut sugar, sprinkled on sugar cookies or added to custards or coffee.  It's excellent in plain scones for a subtle hint of vanilla.  Be sure to leave the bean peeking at the top of the sugar so you can pull it out and stir up the sugar occasionally.  Over time it can lump from the bean moisture.

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