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June 18th 2007
archived under: Meatless, Miscellaneous, Other, Recipes

I love baking, especially from scratch. And one of my favorite smells is vanilla. But have you ever actually tasted store-bought vanilla extract, straight from the bottle? It’s vile!

Imagine how fabulous it would be if the vanilla you put into your baking actually tasted like something you wanted to drink? Or eat in your food?

When I was at the Strip in Pittsburgh, I bought 2 vanilla beans for 3 dollars each. They’re usually about 7, so that was a deal! I was quite thrilled.

And a few days ago, I bought some rum and a great bottle. Visions of vanilla extract are dancing in my head.

Now, a lot of people use vodka when they make extract, because it has less flavor to interfere with the other ingredients in your baking, but if you use rum, it’s supposed to be a sweeter, fuller vanilla extract, so that’s what I went with.

I cut the vanilla beans lengthwise to expose the seeds, and dropped them into the bottle. Then I drowned those suckers in rum and shook it to release some of the seeds. Now, I wait. In 4-6 weeks it should be useable, but some people who make their own vanilla extract won’t even touch it until it’s been extract-ing for a year.

Must… be… patient.

PS I should probably stick some more vanilla beans in there. If I find some more reasonably-priced ones I’ll do that. Should’ve bought a few more in Pittsburgh!





admin (152 comments)

Re-sent it … I hope it gets to you!




BreadBox (9 comments)

The email didn’t get through — so it may need resending (I checked my gmail spam file, and it definitely didn’t get shuffled there).

N.




admin (152 comments)

Haha… Yes, I am the writer of Joyful Abode, and Joyous is, well… a girl whose real name is actually Joy.

I’m pretty sure Joy doesn’t want to buy any beans, but she was offering her services as a runner to us :-D So if we order some, she will get them from you to me, which is awesome of her (Thanks Joy!).

N, I am sending you an email so we don’t have to comment here anymore!




BreadBox (9 comments)

And now I am confused: Admin=joyful, joyous=someone else?




BreadBox (9 comments)

Joyous,
LOML and I were just talking earlier this afternoon about the fact that we really thought that we ought to go ahead with it: and so if you are both interested in coming in on a pound of beans, we are essentially far enough to order.
I was looking at the Ugandan beans, but am open to opinions: it appears that cost issues between the high-end beans are relatively small, so we can choose with abandon….

N.




Joyous (16 comments)

BreadBox and Admin,
I’M in Clemson too! Small world, haha. If you guys decide to do this anytime soon, and since I know Admin in “real life,” I would be willing to be a drug, I mean, vanilla bean, mule. :-D




BreadBox (9 comments)

I’m up in Clemson — I was unsure on which to go for: I’ve never worked with the real stuff, and so there are two possible routes: go the standard, say, madagascar bean, and hope that it is a transformative experience, and then move up to the better beans: the alternative is to go for, say, the ugandan (which they are certainly hyping as amazing) and then be disappointed ever after if I can’t get them somewhere else.

I figure that if a pound is 100-ish beans, probably four people is about the minimum needed for a 1 lb order. I could see sacking away a few different recipes (vodka, brandy, rum, perhaps a ginger spiced version) of vanilla extract, and then using the rest for ice-cream, etc….

N.




admin (152 comments)

Oh wow, those are great prices on the bulk orders. Where in SC are you? I’m near Columbia. If you’re nearby and want to order soon, I’d go in on it with you!

Which kind of bean do you think you’d want to order?




BreadBox (9 comments)

Admin,
I’m in SC, but used to live in Pgh. I’m thinking of ordering from http://www.amadeusvanillabeans.com/ which has the best prices I’ve found so far… and if I can persuade a few other people around here that they need a quarter pound of vanilla beans, then we can get them for a really nice price! Trouble is, most of the people I’d go in with on a joint order are exactly the ones I’d make homemade vanilla extract for as a gift!

N.




admin (152 comments)

Emma – Mmm… how tasty that would be!




Emma H (31 comments)

Oh, that’s such a cool idea…
Vanilla Rum Coolers spring to mind ;)




admin (152 comments)

Breadbox, are you in SC or were you talking about me? Yes it is a long drive!
Let me know how it goes if you do make your own extract, ok?

Jessica, Thanks so much! I have to think now… how many beans….? :-D




Jessica (36 comments)

Wow — I never even thought of making your own vanilla extract! I will bring you some more vanilla beans from Pittsburgh if you want when I’m there in July…




BreadBox (9 comments)

Ah, the strip in the ‘burgh: used to love going to shop there on a saturday morning. A few years ago, the Pennsylvania Mac Co was the only place I knew that I could buy real bread yeast (in a big block, not in powdered, dried form). Unfortunately, it’s a little far to drive from SC to PA just for yeast!
As for vanilla, I love the idea of making my own extract: I think that I will be ordering the beans online rather than in the stores around here, though. As much as I believe in buying local…

N.




admin (152 comments)

Doug, I got the bottle at World Market. That is where I buy all of my wire-bale jars for my spices, flour, rice, sugar, oats, etc. I love them!

I think you’re right that this is going to just be an experiment… until I figure out what works.




Doug (7 comments)

That *is* a great bottle! Is that a standard model found in a mom-pop store? Or a specialty item?

Unless you use a whole lot of extract or the size of that bottle is a lot smaller than it appears (compared to the bean), maybe you can determine the varying stages of extraction starting when you intended and on through the year. In the mean time, make another bottle to leave be until that first one is gone.




admin (152 comments)

I will certainly update! What a great idea, to give as gifts. It would be a fabulous hostess gift too.
Do you agree that I probably need some more beans in there, or do you think I’m ok?




stormimay (1 comments)

I made vanilla extract as gifts for Christmas last year. I did use vodka; I think I will try rum next time. It was yummy though. Oh, and ebay of all places is a GREAT source for organic vanilla beans.
Be sure to post an update when you taste it!






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