Are you afraid to buy vanilla beans in bulk because you don’t think you use them often enough? Well I mean, first of all, you should use vanilla beans more. This cake and this ice cream and this crumble are reason enough. Plus you can go to Costco and get them relatively cheaply. Or if you don’t anticipate needing enough vanilla beans to fill, I don’t know, several bathtubs, most health food stores with bulk sections will let you buy them a handful at a time.
And once you have the vanilla beans in hand, you have no idea how close you are to having vanilla extract. Let’s be honest, vanilla extract is pricey, at least if it’s halfway decent. And it goes quickly–I know I’m pouring it by the teaspoon and tablespoon-ful into most of my recipes. 3 vanilla beans can give you a cup of your own homemade extract, which in addition to being of really great quality, is kind of a lot of fucking extract, if I may attempt to quantify it.
All you need is a tightly sealing container and some alcohol. Vodka is the spirit of choice, mainly because it doesn’t impart any additional flavor to the extract, but rum and bourbon are acceptable substitutes I hear (the latter of which I suspect imparts quite a bit of flavor, but not unwanted-ly). I chose some clear rum (or it chose me, rather, as it was the only alcohol we had on hand) and a fancy container (i was making mine as a gift), but feel free to experiment with your liquor and seal it in a regular old mason jar. Or a thoroughly washed out pickle jar. Or an old juice bottle, I don’t know, use your brain here.
In 2 months this will be some kickass vanilla extract, with minimal work. Just shake the bottle up every few weeks and let the alcohol do the rest. Wasn’t this post so informative? Don’t you thank your lucky stars each day that you know me? Isn’t Groundhog Day a really great movie? Isn’t it frustrating when the bottoms of yogurt containers are fluted so that your spoon can’t scrape all the remaining yogurt out, Trader Joe’s yogurt I am looking DIRECTLY AT YOU? Have you ever seen a llama, wearing polka-dot pajamas, down by the bay?
Homemade Vanilla Extract
sleuthed out over the internet
3 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka, rum, or bourbon
1 tightly-sealing container (mason jars are your friend)
With a paring knife, slice the vanilla beans lengthwise, leaving about 1/2″ unsliced at the top & bottom. Place the vanilla beans in your clean container and pour in 1 cup of alcohol. Seal the container and shake it every few weeks. DONE. Then wait a few months.