Vanilla Extract, Part 3: Beans & the Making of Extract

They came!! After what seemed like a small eternity the vanilla beans finally arrived at my door. So this evening after the kids were tucked in to bed I went back to the kitchen to try my hand at this experiment. Tonight wasn’t really earth shaking in and of itself but I am so excited for what is to come!! Here’s what I did:

  1. Slice the beans open and into two long halves. I used a total of 15 beans.
  1. Spread each bean open and, using the back of the knife, scrape out all the seeds.
  1. Tip the sticky, seedy masses into the bottle of bourbon, tossing the beans in after them.

To my 750ml bottle of bourbon, I added all the seeds from 15 vanilla beans but there was only room for 12 of the empty bean pods before I would be unable to recork the bottle. I was disappointed about this but there still is a lot of vanilla in that bottle! I’m going to see how this fares in a couple months and I can always either add more seeds, which take up less room, from new beans or I could separate the alcohol out into 2 bottles so there is room for more pods to steep. Either way, this is a start.

  1. Wait… again… but with good reason.

From here on out, I will simply let the bottle sit in the corner of our cellar for a couple to a few months. Every time I go down to the cellar I will give the bottle a turn and shake it up a bit. This will take some time but come early to mid December I should have some incredible vanilla extract that will be perfect for holiday baking.

As for the remaining 3 empty vanilla beans that did not make their way into the bottle, I am saving these to use in bits for other things. I’m sure a bit will find its way into my coffee pot in the morning and others will wind up simmering away with fruit on the stove to be used as compote over waffles. These pods will certainly be put to good use!!


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