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Old 08-30-2007, 07:31 PM   #1
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Making your own vanilla?

Can someone who has done this before give me some advice?

Am I supposed to use Brandy, is so what kind?

What kinds of vanilla beans are best to use within reason...I don't want to spend a king's ransom but I do want good beans.

How many beans do you use to how much alcohol?

Do you split the beans before you put them in?

How long does it have to sit before you can start using it?

Do you leave the beans in the bottle as you use out of it? If you do leave the beans in will it get stronger as time goes by?

How long will the beans keep flavoring the Brandy, can you refill the bottle as you use out of it?

I'm going to be taking a trip to Houston in a couple of weeks and I'd like to purchase what I need at that time.

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Old 08-30-2007, 07:41 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:32 PM   #3
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3 Vanilla beans per 1/2 litre of vodka. Add beans and about 1/4 litre of vodka to a blender and blend until beans are broken up into small bits. At this point, add your remaining vodka and blend for an additional 5-7 minutes. Strain this into whatever vessel you'll keep your V. extract in and store in a cool dark place.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie E View Post
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.

Thank you, that link was very helpful.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:27 AM   #5
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3 Vanilla beans per 1/2 litre of vodka. Add beans and about 1/4 litre of vodka to a blender and blend until beans are broken up into small bits. At this point, add your remaining vodka and blend for an additional 5-7 minutes. Strain this into whatever vessel you'll keep your V. extract in and store in a cool dark place.
You don't leave the beans in the vodka?
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BettyR View Post
You don't leave the beans in the vodka?

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.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:24 AM   #7
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You don't leave the beans in the vodka?
I leave the beans in my vodka/vanilla but, by the time I need to use it, the beans and seeds have settled to the bottom and I use the liquid from the top of the jar. It's always nice and clear with nothing floating in it. Of course, I have to be sure I don't shake the jar before I want to use what's in it.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:31 AM   #8
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Could you use this?

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Old 08-31-2007, 10:33 AM   #9
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Omigosh, Jeekins! That would probably be wonderful and a bit of gilding the lily. But, what the heck!
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:46 AM   #10
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We used to do this at the club I worked at in MI. Of course, those beans weren't split open, as the person that made that batch didn't split them. However, I would pull the beans out, use them, use the "extract", and when I was done with the pods, I'd put it into some sugar for vanilla sugar.
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