I first decided to make my own vanilla extract after I received a souvenir gift bottle from my friend’s Mexican vacation. It was the most fragrant, most flavorful, luscious, wonderful vanilla I had ever used. About the time the bottle ran out I happened to read about making your own extracts and knew I had to give it a try to see if I could replicate the superior quality of that Mexican vanilla.
Making your own extracts is very simple. A quick search will result in countless methods and ratios. Using different types of beans and different liqueurs will result in different flavors of vanilla extract.
For my vanilla experiment I used six Madagascar vanilla beans, split open with the seeds scraped and added to one cup of quadruple distilled vodka. After several months of shaking the jar every day, I had some rich and fragrant vanilla extract of my own!
I’d love to get real tricky one day and have different varieties of my own homemade vanilla; one best suited for cheese cake, one best suited for cookies, another for pies. Wouldn’t that be fancy? Like those gourmet ingredient companies.
Success with vanilla encouraged me to branch out and try making orange extract. For this I used the zest from two oranges (leave behind the white pith) mixed with one cup of vodka and shook the jar daily for a couple months. Now I need to strain the liquid through a coffee filter and the extract is ready to use. And let me tell you, it’s way cheaper than the tiny bottles from the grocery store!
This project falls into the category of Totally Worth My Time.