Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Lifetime Supply of Homemade Vanilla

I don't know if I've ever shared this, but my mom is a chef. Naturally, I grew up as quite the little food snob with just a bit of culinary knowledge. I can't even begin to express how hard it was to watch my college roommates in the kitchen... I love them, but they are hopeless when it comes to kitchen utensils. On more than one occasion, I felt it necessary to rescue the poor spatulas from their fate at my roommates' hands.

Anyways, having been raised a food snob, I took some things for granted. For example, I always thought that everyone had a Kitchen Aid mixer in their kitchen. Yeah, not so much. I didn't know just how expensive they were until my husband (then fiance) bought me one for Christmas while I was still in college. I nearly had a heart attack.

Another assumption I used to have... I thought that everyone made their own vanilla extract.

When in reality, most people buy pre-made vanilla extract from the grocery store baking aisle. SHOCKING.

Actually, it's extremely easy to make your own vanilla. In large quantities. Here's what you'll need:

  • Premium grade vanilla beans. They should be moist, not dried out. (If you can't find them in the grocery store, you can order them online.)
  • A bottle of brandy, vodka, or rum. My mother prefers to use rum.
  • sugar (my mom always adds sugar, but I believe it is optional)
Place 10 or so vanilla beans and one cup of sugar in your liter of rum (or vodka/brandy). Shake to dissolve the sugar. Place the bottle in a cool, dark place (like the back of your kitchen cabinet) until the liquid becomes a rich dark color. This usually takes about 6 months. Easy, peasy.

It makes a fabulous Christmas gift if you rebottle it... but you have to start it now, stick it in the back of a cabinet, and forget about it until next Christmas!


  1. I've never heard of this in my entire life, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I think I'll try it. Thanks :)

  2. Love Love Love the idea of making homemade vanilla. I think I shall try this too~ :)

    I'm starting to cook ALOT more and if you have any other secrets to share, do tell :P

    We went to the NEX yesterday and I saw like 10 kitchenaids ALL different colors. So pretty~ <3 i'm really happy with mine :) I made a Japanese Strawberry Shortcake with it yesterday <3

  3. oh is the picture of your vanilla done? or just starting?


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