For almost a year, I read about making vanilla flavoring. I've read all the good, bad and ugly on making it with alcohol and without. They both have all three.
Have you seen the price on vanilla lately? If not, it is through the roof. For me, making vanilla is partly a frugal thing but I also like to know exactly what is in our pantry items.
I weighed the traditional alcohol method along with the non alcohol method and for us, spending money on the glycerin (non alcohol method) was sending money up the chimney. Depending on your beliefs, I recommend researching both methods and doing what you feel led to go with.
In our area, vanilla beans are a little difficult to find locally. I called Trader Joe's and several local health food stores and they did not carry any. I did find a tiny package of beans (6 beans) at our local Earth Fare. I paid $12.00 for those beans in January and I'm looking at Mountain Rose Herbs for my next purchase.
In January, my husband saw the price factor for vanilla. He was a little shocked over the price per ounce on the store brand not the national brand name. He finally decided it was time to take the step into making our own vanilla. When we left the grocery store, we headed over to the other store and he bought a bottle of vodka. You can use different types of alcohol like rum and bourbon but I went with the vodka because I didn't want any other flavor in mine. Bourbon vanilla flavoring has nothing to do with the alcohol, it's the type of bean.
Vanilla flavoring is super easy to make even though it takes time for it to flavor. I was so excited about my little jar of flavoring, that I only waited about 2 1/2 weeks, before trying it. **Wait at least 6 weeks ~ if you don't drink alcohol, trust me on this one!** Let me tell you, once it has flavored, you will find things to bake just so you can use it. It's that good! If you're like me, and love vanilla then you'll put it in just about everything.
All you need to make your own batch is the alcohol, vanilla beans and glass jars. For this batch, I used 2 half pint mason jars.
I took the vanilla beans and split them from the top down to the bottom of the bean. I did not cut the top or bottom off, I just left them. Next, I scraped the pods so the tiny beans would come out in the vodka. I placed 3 beans in each jar and poured the vodka over them. Remember these are half pint jars for the 3 beans. After putting on the lid, I placed the jars in a cabinet and took them out each day and gave them a swirl. I did this for about 2 weeks.
After a day or so, you should see the color of the liquid changing and after about 3 weeks, you can begin to smell the vanilla. In my jars, I have left the beans in, just so the vanilla will keep flavoring. After a while, I'll take them out and add them to the other jar. This will be so when I add more liquid, there will be more "weaker" beans working together to strengthen that jar. ~ I hope that made sense.
If I have family members reading this, act surprised when you get your Christmas gift.
Pure vanilla is now on my list of items that I will not have to buy any longer.