Making homemade vanilla extract is one of the simplest things in the world to do. It will also allow home cooks to have more control over the concentration of vanilla flavor in cooking creations. As vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, second only to saffron, this is also certain to save people a bit of money.
A bottle of vanilla extract containing only about ten ounces may cost as much as ten dollars or more. Those who do a great deal of baking may want to consider making their own. They are certain to save quite a bit of money.
People who use imitation vanilla or a weaker extract will notice that their creation’s result is flat with an artificial taste. Although this may not be a major concern when the primary recipe flavor is not vanilla, when it is, the final product is sure to be a flop. Making homemade vanilla will give home cooks the opportunity to allow the mixture to steep for as long as they like, creating the strong vanilla flavor they desire.
Vanilla beans are widely available in grocery stores and on-line. The key to achieving a high quality finished product is choosing a better quality bean. Choosing vanilla beans from a specific region is not necessarily the most important issue, although most people prefer the rich flavor of Madagascar vanilla beans. The quality of the pod itself is most important. A good bean will be quite dark or even black, it should be pliable enough to bend and feel a bit oily to the touch. About five beans can usually be found for less than ten dollars.
A bottle of vodka will also be needed. Most often, a person can purchase a 1.75-liter bottle of vodka for little more than ten dollars. For this purpose, it is not necessary to buy Grey Goose or another high-end alcohol (unless you intend to drink it).
Preparing what will eventually become the vanilla extract will take about five minutes. Choose two or three plump pods. Place the pods onto a cutting board and make a lengthwise slice into each. Pour a small amount of the vodka out of the bottle in order to avoid an overflow. Now simply insert the vanilla pods into the bottle of vodka, and wait…
Leave the mixture in a cool dark place for about a month or more, and then take a look and a taste. The longer the liquid is allowed to steep, the stronger the vanilla flavor will be. The beans may be removed and reused once the desired strength has been achieved. Try drying out the beans and placing them into the sugar bowl. The taste and the aroma are phenomenal. Use a funnel to pour the vanilla extract into a clean bottle or bottles.
Making homemade vanilla extract will clearly cost a fraction of the price of commercial vanilla. Poured into an attractive bottle, this homemade vanilla extract will make a lovely gift for any cook.
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