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 Amazon.com, 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!