What would you say the most frequently used flavoring in the kitchen would be?
If you said vanilla extract, you are right!
But, it is also one of the most expensive! Because of the labor required to grow vanilla beans, it is the second most expensive spice – second only to saffron.
Did you know that you can make real vanilla extract for just about the same price as buying the counterfeit?
I used to use imitation vanilla extract because real vanilla is so expensive. After finding out how easy it is to make the real thing in my own kitchen AND how economical it is, I would never go back to the fake stuff!
Watch for yourself to find out how easy it is! After the video, I will give the recipe and more information about selecting the vanilla beans.
The following information contains links to products from my affiliate partners that I personally use and recommend.
Organic Vanilla Beans or Not?
As I said in the video, there is really no need to buy organic vanilla beans because most are grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The vanilla plant has very few predators and they are grown in areas without the resources to spray anyway. That being said, I have bought organic vanilla beans purchased in bulk, as well as, non-organic vanilla beans. There are typically 6 – 9 beans per ounce purchased.
Splits vs Gourmet
When finding vanilla beans online, you may see the words “splits” and “gourmet”. These refer to the type of vanilla beans. The splits are beans that actually split on the vine or during curing. They typically have a higher moisture and vanillin content. If the beans have not split, they are considered gourmet. I normally use the gourmet vanilla beans.
Bourbon or Vodka?
Vanilla extract can be made with bourbon or vodka. Vodka is normally chosen because bourbon has a stronger flavor on its own and will mask the vanilla flavor.
I have tested both inexpensive and more expensive vodkas for making vanilla extract and the least expensive works very well.
If you are concerned about gluten, be sure to use potato vodka.
Vanilla Extract Recipe
- Split the vanilla beans lengthwise.
- Place the vanilla beans in an airtight container.
- Fill the container with vodka – be sure the beans are completely covered in vodka.
- Place the bottle in a cool closet or pantry and allow it to sit for 4 – 8 weeks. I have found it good after 6 weeks.
- To reuse, once a bottle is 1/2 empty, refill with vodka and allow to sit for another 8 weeks.
Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/rimglow