When I turned my calendar to July, I knew it was time to brew up another batch of vanilla. Last year’s concoction, which I shared with you here, was so good and so easy, that I know making my own vanilla extract is the only way to go.
I bought some vanilla beans on my shopping day in Paris last fall and have kept them safe for just this use.
Vanilla extract is really simple to make. It requires just two ingredients – vanilla beans and vodka. All you do is scrape out the meat from six to eight vanilla pods and put it into a sterilized bottle. Then you fill the bottle with vodka. Seal and store in a dark area. Gently shake the bottle daily for the first two weeks, and then once a week after that. In about six months, it will be ready to use.
To get to the meat of the vanilla, slit the bean down the side and scrape it out. This is the good stuff. It is sticky, and so you need to be careful when putting it into the bottle.
This year I opted for a dark bottle. Last year I noticed that the extract evaporated while it was brewing/steeping. Using a dark, rather than a clear, bottle should eliminate that problem.
Now I know that when it is holiday baking time, the vanilla extract will be ready. If vanilla isn’t your thing, check out Jordan’s lemon extract here.