Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract ~ Ready to Use!

Today is a beautiful day here in Northern Illinois.  The temp is in the 70's with a light breeze and bright sunshine... a perfect day!  It sets me to thinking about turning the oven on and trying out a few recipes. *sigh*  Then it occurred to me that today would also be a good day to finish my vanilla extract that had been sitting in my pantry since January.  After around 6 months of soaking, the vanilla beans have given up their flavor to the alcohol and are ready to be removed.  So, I pulled out my bottles from the depths of my pantry.  The extract appeared dark in color and smelled wonderful.   Okay I must confess:   I ran out of vanilla a month ago and snitched a few teaspoons out of one bottle in desperation, and it was definitely ready to use and full strength. ;)  

**For those who did not read my original post for making homemade vanilla extract, you can find it by clicking  here .**

Below is a pic of the bottles with the beans still soaking.  The Club Whisky is a brown bottle, but the others are clear and shows the current color.  My vanilla turned a brown translucent color almost instantly after the first shake.  But as you can see,  it has gotten even darker over the past months.

I sterilized some Mason jars to hold the extract, since I haven't had time to pick up any small bottles yet.   Due to the composition of plastics these days, it is recommended that glass storage containers be used.   The vanilla should be put into dark glass to protect it from the light, but mine will be stored on the dark side of my pantry cupboard, so the clear will work for now.  How do you like my ingenious use of paint strainers?  ;)  

How's that for vanilla and some to spare?  One of the jars contains the vanilla made experimentally out of whisky.  Although it definitely has a vanilla smell to it, I can also smell the whisky right along with it.  This could be an interesting mix in the right recipe, but not something that I would be willing to try again.  Vodka is definitely the best alcohol to use.  *** In case you are thinking on giving this a try, most sources agree that the cheaper the Vodka the better.  Expensive Vodka usually has some flavor added to separate it from the competitors. :)

In my Internet search, I have found 4 oz. brown Boston bottles on Amazon.com for 12.99 a dozen, or the 2 oz size for 10.99 a dozen.  They should work well for storing the vanilla and gift giving.   This little adventure has been a fun experiment.  I will definitely do it again.  But by the looks of it, I won't need to anytime soon! :)

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