Saturday, August 6, 2011

There's a Bean in My Vodka!

I've probably lost my mind, but this just seemed like fun.

I've been contemplating this since last summer when I read about making my own pure vanilla extract. I never did because it seemed silly expensive for something you can buy for $3 a bottle at the store, but that's imitation vanilla flavoring, not pure vanilla extract.

And it just sounds like fun.

So I ordered some vanilla beans from, made Greg go buy me a bottle of cheap vodka, and viola, in 4-6 months I'll have vanilla. Maybe even in time to give some away for Christmas.

I still have to buy the special amber bottles, but those are kinda cheap, like $1-1.50 each, depending on the size and style. Wonder if I need dropper bottle or regular bottles...

So I don't forget next time, I started with the instructions found here. But when I ordered my beans the best deal I found was for 27 beans, so I ended up using about 2 1/2 quarts of Vodka and all 27 of my beans. I measured out all of my vodka, poured 2 1/2 quarts back in the bottle, split my beans in half with kitchen shears, and shoved them back in the bottle. I have about 3/4 pint of vodka left over, with no idea what I'd do with it. Any of you lushes need a bit of cheap vodka? Free to good home or it goes down the drain!

Now I just have to shove it in a cabinet for a few months and not forget about it when it's done (if I come back to read this when I forget, it's in the corner cabinet under the bar!). And order jars and a couple of fresh beans when the time comes. I read that if you stick a fresh split bean or two in the jar before you give it away, the recipient can add a little vodka as they use it and it'll keep steeping. Since you use approximately half the amount in each recipe, it should last a really long time. Now I want to make a pound cake. But I have to wait 4 months!

AND, I did some googling and found many, many uses for used vanilla beans, so once I get done making the extract I can rinse them off, dry them out, and use them for a variety of other purposes! I'm rather stoked about that, because vanilla beans are not cheap!

On a slightly different note, I felt human enough to break out my dehydrator again on Friday and Saturday to deal with some garden goodies we brought home from Philly last weekend. My stash of seasoning/powders and things that need to be ground into seasonings and powders currently looks like this:

That doesn't include the other fun stuff I've made, just the veggies - tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, celery, jalapeno peppers, celery root, and mushrooms!


Allison said...

Will you please just move in with me? I'll help you raise Kaycie and Microtot, and you can be my cook/housekeeper/person-who-makes-me-sick-with-their-baking/dehydrating/vanilla making.

Seriously, Greg and Hubby can fend for themselves. =)

Susan said...

You want some vanilla when it's done? It'll be close to Christmas before it's ready, but I should have plenty!

Allison said...

Heck yeah! I'd love some!