Actually, it was the one about the very pregnant mama sitting in the car outside the liquor store while her husband went in and bought vodka so she could make…
Yes, folks, that pregnant mama was me this last summer, sitting outside the liquor store in the sweltering heat while my husband went in and bought the cheapest vodka he could find so we could try our hand at making homemade real vanilla.
Many months had passed since our last bottle of Mexican vanilla had run out. We missed the richness of real vanilla, and my husband just about couldn’t bring himself to purchase vanilla extract for our baked goods and definitely not for our homemade ice cream. After chit chatting with some friends of ours who had begun making their own, we decided we could definitely handle the process and the price…and even the trek into the liquor store. 😉
We purchased vanilla beans from Saffron.com where you can purchase 1 pound of beans for $19.95!
The vodka was the very cheapest money could buy – around $7.
Looking back, we put an excessive amount of beans in our first batch – 24, to be exact. I’m thinking 6 ought to do the trick next time. It might take a bit longer to steep, but this would be the biggest bang for my buck.
So, I slit the beans lengthwise and I also chunked them up (not necessary, but the idea here is more surface area).
I’ve seen on other sites where they say it takes 6 months, but our friends told us 6 weeks, and sure enough, by 6 weeks, the vanilla was ready to use. We left the beans in to keep adding to the richness of the flavor. Our friends pour off the vanilla and reuse the beans in a new batch, but they have twice the number of children we have and they are sharing with their church family, so they go through more vanilla than we do. (Tiana from God Made…Home Grown says you can just keep adding vodka to your bottle so you can keep using it!)
It has been so nice to have real vanilla to cook with again! It’s so incredibly easy and so worth the trip to the liquor store!