I have been wanting to make my own vanila extract for quite a while; a couple of years ago I was watching Chef at Home and Michael Smith showed that he makes his own and this inspired me. It took awhile before I actually made my own because of well, time and the fact that the only vanilla beans that I ever saw in a local store were $20 for 2, which is pricy in my opinion. So, the other day when I saw some beans on sale for $10, I grabbed a vial and decided to finally make some extract.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
2 plump vanilla beans
1 cup hard liquor (rum, vodka or bourbon are good choices but it must be at least 40% alcohol)
you will need 1 clean jar & lid (I sterilized mine in some boiling water)
1. Split vanilla beans open by running a sharp knife lengthwise down the bean.
2. Spread the beans open and use the side of a knife to scape the "caviar" (or seeds) out, place the seeds in the jar.
3. Cut the beans in half and place in the jar, add the alcohol to the jar and seal.
4. The hard part - place the jar in a cool dark location for at least one month before using, you can top it up as you use it (best to add more beans as well since they loose their flavour over time).
I used some white rum that we picked up on our honeymoon, so the total cost for my extract was under $15, which is less than what a cup of artificial extract would have cost me (that bottle cost less than $5 - god bless Cuba).
Apparently "the USDA requires at least 35% vol. of alcohol and 13.35 ounces of pod per gallon which is roughly 8-11 pods per 250ml." Mine is nowhere near that as you can see but I think it will still turn out pretty well, I mean, if Chef at Home make his with only a few beans, then I'm sure that mine will taste just fine.
In a couple of months I'll pull this baby out and well see how it turned out.