Making your own vanilla extract couldn’t be easier, and it tastes vastly better than the pre-bottled version! Fill a glass jar with booze (yes, you will have to part with some of the alcohol you have stocked up for the apocalypse), add some vanilla beans, give it a weekly shake, and in 4-6 weeks it will be ready to use. Homemade vanilla is far more economical and makes a wonderful gift, tricking people into believing you are some kind of kitchen witch. Do not pinch pennies on the type of vanilla beans: use only premium-grade, as it will give you a much more delightful flavor and aroma.
I use Madagascar Vanilla Beans which have that traditional, rich vanilla flavor. As for the booze, I find vodka to be the ideal pairing with vanilla. You can use rum or bourbon for a different flavor profile. Imagine rum-flavored vanilla in your rice pudding or bourbon-flavored vanilla in your whipped cream….I think I may need to go make some now.
3 vanilla beans
1 cup of vodka
glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid
Using a sharp paring knife, cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean leaving an inch at the end connected. Depending upon the height of your glass container, you may have to cut the beans in half crosswise. Place the beans in the jar and add the vodka (no cheating here or saving a sip for later—the whole cup goes into the jar). They must be completely submerged in the alcohol, those lucky beans.
Store it at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Give it a shake once or twice a week—the jar, not your booty, but you can do both at the same time to keep to your stringent fitness regimen.
You can top it off with vodka once in a while as you use it. Always keep the beans submerged in the alcohol so they stay happy.
And….don’t forget to shake!