Monday, 11 March 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is something I use in nearly everything, and so I end up buying those little Dr Oetker bottles pretty regularly. I've been seeing these recipes for making your own around the internet for a while and finally decided to try it for myself. The pages all boast that the flavour is so much better, and I love the idea of saying my cakes and bakes have my own vanilla in them. 

However, I'm always a little skeptical of new things like this, even when I've read a hundred peoples recipes and experience, so I went quick and cheap. I had an old half full bottle of Absolut vodka sitting on the shelf, and as I rarely drink vodka, thought I'd just use that. In my local supermarket the only vanilla pods were these Ndali organic ones, two in the pack, for about £5.00. Being a cheapskate, I just bought the one packet with the thought that if this didn't work, I was only £5.00 down. (On the other hand, when its all ready to go and I can bake with it, I'll convince myself how much of a good idea this was)

I made a good mess opening up the vanilla pods and attempting to scrape the little seeds out, but in the end gave up pretty quick and shoved it all in and shook it. This was day one:

I'd really like to work out how to scrub the Absolut writing off it so it looks more homemade, but for now its okay, and I'm saving up little bottles to pour it into when its all ready. A lot of reading hasnt really helped me work out when its done though. Most say after two weeks, when its a dark amber colour, I can begin to use it, but the longer I leave it, the better flavour will develop. I'm so excited to use it!
Today, I got it out to have a better look. Its living in my cupboard, so when I go to get something I give it a shake, but I hadn't taken it out yet. Its looking pretty good!

I'm going to try and make myself wait until the end of the month. Had a quick smell and its starting to get a vanilla smell, but it was mostly overpowered by vodka still!
Adding this to my growing ideas for my business too, to be able to say even the vanilla is handmade would be really great, maybe I'd even sell it in store.