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Old 08-31-2007, 12:21 PM   #11
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I haven't done it, but I have been thinking about it. Here is a site for vanilla beans that was recommended to me:

http://www.saffron.com/
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:36 PM   #12
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No, but that doesn't mean you couldn't. My method is designed to be for immediate use vanilla extract, and probably isn't quite as flavorful as Katie's method. However, if you wanted to leave the vanilla bits in the vodka, you could simply rubber band a cheesecloth or some other type of mesh to catch the bits when you're using your vanilla. Of course, if the bits don't bother you, then leave em in. We use this method at work, and we strain because it becomes a textural issue. You don't want bits of vanilla bean in a Creme Brulee that you charge $9 for.
Thank you, I like the idea of blending the beans up it does seem that you would get the most flavor out of them but I do think that I will leave the beans in the bottle and rubber band some cheesecloth over the opening; that way I will get the best of both worlds.

Instant flavor that grows deeper over time.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:38 PM   #13
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I haven't done it, but I have been thinking about it. Here is a site for vanilla beans that was recommended to me:

http://www.saffron.com/
Thank you for the link, that is a very good price!!!!

I have several people in my family that I could share these with.
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:24 PM   #14
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You really have to leave the beans in the alcohol becasue it is the alcohol that releases the flavor in the beans.
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:26 PM   #15
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Betty, I've been making my own vanilla for years. I usually use the least expensive vodka to make mine. I use an empty pickle or sauerkraut jar and fill it with vodka. Then I take about 3 good-sized vanilla beans, split them lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the vodka, along with the beans. Put the lid on the jar and shake. I store it in a cool, dark place and shake as often as I can remember. I don't usually use my batch of vanilla until it's "steeped" for about a year. I normally have two batches going so I don't run out, because I often give it as gifts in decorative bottles. And, yes, you can leave the beans indefinitely and add more liquid if it starts getting low.

As for what kind of vanilla beans, I buy mine at World Market and don't remember what kind they are.

I love it. The only real difference in the taste of this vanilla is that it is not sweet like most of the commercial stuff.

Betty, here's a link to a thead that discusses homemade vanilla.

Oh, this is so exciting! Who knew one could make vanilla at home instead of paying an arm and a leg to purchase some! This is so cool!!

OK, Katie, I have a few questions about your method. I haven't read this thread since this morning, so if any of these are answered already in this thread or maybe in the link you provided, feel free to ignore the question. I have very limited amounts of time to be on the computer....

1. How big is your pickle Jar?
2. You don't pressure seal the jar or anything like that? If you've been doing it for years, it must be safe, but I need to ask anyway. It's safe this way?
3. Is the pantry in my kitchen considered a cool, dark place?
4. Does the liquid turn that dark brown that the store bought ones look like?
5. Does the 'not being sweet like the commercial ones' make a difference in baking?
6. If a recipe calls for 1 tsp. vanilla extract, would I still use 1 tsp. of this?
7. Why do you use the cheap vodka? Wouldn't a high quality vodka make a better vanilla extract?
8. Is this similar to the way that the commercial stuff is made?

Thanks for sharing and answering!!!
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ps8 View Post
1. How big is your pickle Jar?
2. You don't pressure seal the jar or anything like that? If you've been doing it for years, it must be safe, but I need to ask anyway. It's safe this way?
3. Is the pantry in my kitchen considered a cool, dark place?
4. Does the liquid turn that dark brown that the store bought ones look like?
5. Does the 'not being sweet like the commercial ones' make a difference in baking?
6. If a recipe calls for 1 tsp. vanilla extract, would I still use 1 tsp. of this?
7. Why do you use the cheap vodka? Wouldn't a high quality vodka make a better vanilla extract?
8. Is this similar to the way that the commercial stuff is made?

Thanks for sharing and answering!!!
1. My jar is about 1 pint.
2. No, no pressure sealing or anything. I just make sure the jar lid is screwed on tightly.
3. Don't know what the temp of your pantry is. I keep mine on the floor of a closet. Definitely cool and dark there.
4. The liquid, after a nice long time, turns nearly black. Nice, rich vanilla.
5. The sweetness does not make any difference in baking. The amount of vanilla used in a recipe would offer such little sweetness it would get lost among the other sweeteners usually included in the recipe.
6. I use the same amount of homemade vanilla as I do commercially-produced vanilla.
7. I don't think a more costly vodka would make much difference. The main thing is to get the alcohol to extract the vanilla flavor from the beans. Cheap vodka can do this as well as expensive vodka.
8. Don't really know how commercial vanilla extract is made but, if you look at the label, you will see it does have a high alcohol content.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:20 PM   #17
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If you are desperate you could drink it >:-)) I have had cooks that( past tence) worked for me that I have cought drinking my Vanilla Cheap vodka is just fine. In a pinch
you could buy Mexican vanilla which I have found to be quite good.
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Old 09-01-2007, 01:56 PM   #18
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I can't put into words how excited I am about this! I don't know why it excites me so, but, BOY, it surely does!!! I can't wait to be near a liquor store to get me some vodka so I can start on this. Waiting a whole year is going to be tough, but I'll do it.

Oooh, I just thought of another question. The people that you give it to as gifts...do they really like it? I mean, obviously, they aren't going to say "That was awful!", but you can probably tell if they really like it or if they're simply being polite.

I was joking with DH last night about it being gifts for kids' school teachers and then kids and teachers alike getting arrested for having alcohol at school! Maybe not for teachers...

Betty, I am so glad you stared this thread!!!! Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2007, 05:31 PM   #19
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I've given it to some of my very best foodie friends and they have all enjoyed it and given me positive feedback. One friend in particular is quite an accomplished chef (home, not professional) and he loved it.

Don't worry. You'll get through the year. Look how fast this one has flown by.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:17 PM   #20
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Don't worry. You'll get through the year. Look how fast this one has flown by.
No kidding!! I can't believe we're in the second half of the year already.
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