I've been working on a little project for the last few months...
In August I mixed together some rum and vanilla beans/pods in a jar and 8 weeks later I had my very own homemade vanilla extract.
Do you know what's in your vanilla extract? Is it genuine? Or is it imitation? If it's imitation it may have been flavored with vanillin and not actual vanilla beans. It may also include corn syrup or caramel color. Hmmm..not for me - I'd rather have the real thing. If you've ever had a custard, ice cream, or whipped cream flavored with actual vanilla beans you know what I'm talking about. I figured that if the vanilla beans tasted so good then homemade vanilla extract would be fantastic. And it is. It was so easy to make too.
Using a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Spread the two halves apart to reveal the vanilla seeds. Scrape the seeds from the pod and put them into a jar (along with the remaining pods). Put 3 or 4 vanilla beans into a medium-sized mason jar and fill the jar with rum or vodka.
Place the jar in a cool dark place. Every week give the jar a gentle shake. In eight weeks you'll have your very own vanilla extract.
Once you begin using the extract add any used pods that you may have into the mix to concentrate the flavour even further. The best part is that you'll never run out - just keep filling the jar with more rum or vodka.
Hmm...looks like I've got a few more jars made to be given out as Christmas gifts. I wonder who will be the lucky recipients? Any guesses?