05 April 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

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remember quite sometime back, 10 months ago to be exact i blogged about embarking on a little project to make my own vanilla extract? well its finally ready and i started decanting it about a month ago.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

the reason why it took me so long was due to an unreliable recipe. ok maybe i shouldn't call it unreliable since there might just be some people who succeeded with the recipe and got their extract ready in 6 weeks, which i highly doubt so. i followed this recipe from the traveler's lunchbox and i did what was required - poured in a bottle of nielsen massey's vanilla extract (118ml) into one liter of vodka & added in 6 newly scraped vanilla bean seeds + pods and gave it a little shake every few days and it should be ready in about 6 weeks. but 6 weeks later the color was still extremely light and reeked very strongly of alcohol so i knew it wasn't ready yet. another 3 months passed (i did throw in somemore used ones along the way) and i was getting impatient.

then one of my flickr friends posted a picture of her homemade vanilla extract and i jumped at the chance to ask her for advice. she said the extraction process takes about 6 months to be fully completed, not 6 weeks and that she started only with vodka and vanilla beans, sans extract. the guideline is to use about 3-5 beans to every cup (250ml) of vodka. so if you use a liter of vodka, you'll need about 15 or more beans. i only added 6 so that about solve the mystery. and chopped up beans is alot better than just scraped, she said.

as you can see, the color of my extract is still pretty light so i'm in the process of adding more beans into it until i get this really dark, syrupy and aromatic consistency. no matter what its definitely worth the wait since its really economical to make yr own. in sg, a 118ml bottle of nielsen massey's vanilla extract costs about $20 odd. if you make your own, 1 liter of extract will probably just cost you $50 ($35 for the bottle of vodka or even cheaper if you get it from the duty-free and 15 bucks for 15 beans). thats about $170 in savings so why not?

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depending on how much you intend to make, here's a rough guide so feel free to multiply to suit your preference :

1 cup (250ml) vodka
3-5 vanilla beans, seeds scraped and pods chopped
a glass bottle

place vodka, vanilla seeds & pods in the bottle, screw cap shut and store in a cool dark place, giving it a shake once every few days. infusing time will be about 6 months so i think it makes sense to make a larger batch. everytime you use a bean pod you can throw it in. just remember if you've infused the bean in milk or cream beforehand, rinse it carefully 1st.

25 comments:

Spicy Green Mango said...

Wow! You are soo talented! I love your blog and your photos are gorgeous as always! Keep up the amazing attention to detail...there are nuts like me who love this!

greg said...

Wow! 10 months? I bet it is soooo worth it. GREG

Kaitlin said...

Your photos are always so amazing.  I could never photograph my extract and make it look this pretty!

Anyway, I've been working on my own extract for awhile now, too.  It's a good feeling to use your own sutff :)

bossacafez said...

thank you dear :)  i love your pictures too, they're beautiful! i linked u up by googling your blog, hope i got the right one since you logged in to comment via google connect and i couldn't see anything.

bossacafez said...

definitely, though i didn't expect this long!

bossacafez said...

thank you! your photos are amazing too and your bakes are OMG, esp the rainbow layer cake! you inspire me to attempt something like that too haha. yes its definitely a good feeling to use homemade stuff ;)

felicia said...

amazing photos there evan!
i made some some time back too.
but never got to use it myself.
after about 7 weeks i gave them away as gifts. haha.
was quite disappointed at the limited number of bottles/jars available to store them!
bet your hard work paid off :)

Chelle said...

OMG! Homemade vanilla. I've always hankered to make my own but was daunted by the process. It took 10months??? It's like almost a year! I have lots of vodka though...it's really tempting...Btw, I can't seem to find narrow tall bottles like the ones you use, do you know where I can get them from? (:

bossacafez said...

u can try vom fass, an oil & spirit shop at ION orchard, 4th floor. i got mine from there. they also sell lotsa empty glass bottles but not v cheap. the one at the background is a reuse of the elderflower cordial bottle from IKEA :)  oh and thx for letting me know where to get the financier molds ;)  

bossacafez said...

<span>u can try vom fass, an oil & spirit shop at ION orchard, 4th floor. i got mine from there. they also sell lotsa empty glass bottles but not v cheap. the one at the background is a reuse of the elderflower cordial bottle from IKEA :)  oh and thx for letting me know where to get the financier molds ;)   </span>
<span></span> 
<span>if u hv lotsa vodka u shd make yr own vanilla extract unless u plan to make cocktails. actually no need 10 mths la, just 6 mths but the delay was due to an unreliable recipe i followed :( </span>

bossacafez said...

aww what a shame! make again nx time :)

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Hi! I am so fascinated and inspired by your post & photo. It just makes so much sense to make your own, doesn't it? I know what I'll be asking my hubby to get from the airport when he flies back in a couple of weeks' time. Is there any brand of vodka in particular? Or any brand will do? Thank you for sharing your observations and findings ... very generous of you!

Fouad @The Food Blog said...

Great idea, and it's certainly well worth doing as an economical alternative. It would probably last for years with the vodka. Do you think it does become syrupy? Or is that something to do with the sugar?

bossacafez said...

hi ju, nice of you to drop by :)  i used absolut vodka but any brand would do actually. you just need a very cheap one. its really easy to do, hope you'll fun making (and using) :)

bossacafez said...

it does become syrupy. if you notice, the surface of the beans are oily and and insides are slimy. that most likely contribute to the syrupy consistency.

bossacafez said...

<span>hi ju, nice of you to drop by :)  i used absolut vodka but any brand would do actually. you just need a very cheap one. its really easy to make, hope you'll hv fun making (and using) :) </span>

Spicy Green Mango said...

Hi Evan! I learned your name via this blog:) Yes, you have the correct blog. Awe, thank you for visiting b/c your pictures inspire me everytime I visit and drool over our culinary creations:) I can't believe you're all the way in Singapore..this means I'm destined to visit one day!

Brad said...

WOW! it's been 10 months already? time really flies, i remember seeing that post of you embarking on the vanilla extract "adventure"! :)

Chelle said...

awesome! thanks for sharing the bottles sources shall go check them out :) no prob about the financiers molds hope u get them too cos they are too cute to resist hee. yups, definitely will try out the homemade vanilla essence, it's one out of my many to-do list ;)

Planza said...

You can also soak vanilla seeds and pods in bourbon. That produces a vanilla with a really nice flavor.

Presley said...

Where do you get your vanilla beans for a dollar each?  The best I've found is about $2.50.  Well, I'm surprised to hear it takes that long, but I'm working on my own, too.  I think I'll go chop up the beans to help it along. 

bossacafez said...

i get them from a baking supplies store in singapore. the beans are from indonesia. i'm surprised it takes that long too but yea thats the fact. chopping the beans definitely help but i was actually tempted to add in more beans, like 50 more!

bossacafez said...

thats right! rum too :)

bossacafez said...

yes, having took 10 months, its an adventure alright!

bossacafez said...

<span>i get them from a baking supplies store in singapore. the beans are from indonesia. $2.50ea is kinda ex so u shd probably source for cheaper ones online, or even merchants on ebay. </span>
<span></span>
<span>i'm surprised it takes that long too but yea thats the fact. chopping the beans definitely help but i was actually tempted to add in more beans, like 50 more!</span>

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