Vanilla is one of the most popular of all spices, and sometimes the get the special moniker of “essence of the spice world”. It is also highly sought after, not only for its flavour, but for its ability to create a rich and luxurious aroma without being overpowering. The process of extracting vanilla is similar to how you make coffee, but instead of coffee beans, vanilla beans are used.
Vanilla extract is one of the world’s most popular flavors, and is a staple in everything from desserts to baked goods. But, most recipes call for a small amount of vanilla bean paste, which can be tricky to find (and more expensive) and—in most cases—has a higher sugar content than vanilla extract. Luckily, we have figured out a way to make concentrated pure vanilla extract, which we pitch into our cookies, cakes, and breads.
Vanilla extract is the clear star of the herb world and for good reason. It’s a delicious essential oil that adds a hint of luxurious flavor to pretty much anything you can put it in. That said, vanilla is also a wonderful natural food preservative. It soaks up unwanted aromas and moisture in the jars it’s kept in, which prolongs their shelf life and prevents bacteria from taking hold. It’s a great ingredient to have around the kitchen, to make everything taste better.
Vodka is fine, but vanilla beans are superior. Is it the other way around, or vice versa? Regardless of your choice, mixing the two will result in the best-tasting DIY vanilla extract you’ve ever had.
A delicious essence may be made by infusing the beans in wine for 8 weeks. Try to wait 6 months or perhaps longer for the finest taste. Consider handmade vanilla to be a superb wine that improves with age.
What’s the point of making your own vanilla extract?
You can purchase several unique vanilla extracts in stores, but none of them compare to creating your own. The taste will make you wonder how you ever got by without the genuine thing in your baked products.
You may also save a lot of money by injecting your own extract if you play your cards correctly. Purchasing vanilla pods in bulk will save you money. However, search about since if you purchase more than one or two pods at a time, you may get some great discounts.
What are the finest vanilla substitutes? Related reading:
To produce vanilla extract, you’ll need the following ingredients.
Glass jars or bottles: Mason jars are acceptable, although you may find that pouring vanilla from a bottle is simpler. Your best bet is an 8-ounce amber glass bottle with a twist top. It’s very practical, and the darker shades will help block out light.
Vanilla beans: When it comes to vanilla beans, don’t overthink it. Unless you’re a vanilla bean expert, the origin of your vanilla bean won’t make much of a difference. Madagascan, Tahitian, Mexican, and Indonesian cuisines are all suitable for the job. The ideal grade for extraction is B, although A would suffice.
Buy an inexpensive bottle of 80 proof vodka that doesn’t have any extra zesty flavors like lemon or grapefruit. They’ll drown out the vanilla flavor. Brandy, rum, or bourbon are some more liquors to explore.
A funnel isn’t required, but it will make pouring a single big quantity into smaller bottles much easier. They’re cheap and plentiful, so why not invest in one to make your life easier?
Recipe for vanilla extract
- 4 c. vodka (or other high-proof alcohol)
- 16 beans of vanilla
- Place the beans on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut them lengthwise.
- It’s not necessary to split them in half; just slit one side to reveal the small seeds within.
- Place the entire vanilla bean pods in a container large enough to hold them and pour the alcohol over them. Place four beans in each of four big vessels or four 1-cup jars/bottles.
- Before keeping in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for at least 8 weeks, firmly seal the lid and shake it. Shake once a week to aid in the infusion process.
Is it possible to produce vanilla extract without the use of alcohol? Although alcohol is the most convenient method to make pure extracts, food-grade vegetable glycerin will suffice. It’s simple to purchase it by doing a fast search online.
Advice on how to make superior vanilla extract at home
- For an extract, any kind of vanilla bean would suffice, but a mix of several varieties will offer a delightful layer of depth.
- Straight from the bottle, you may use homemade vanilla extract. If you like, strain the vanilla through a fine sieve or a nut milk bag to remove any particles.
- It’s not essential to buy costly top-shelf alcohol; instead, use a brandy or rum alternative to vodka for a unique taste.
- You may buy vanilla beans in bulk at spice shops or from internet businesses that sell in bulk. It will help you save money.
- Make sure your container is the appropriate size for the beans and that it is made of dark glass to keep the light out.
- Any vanilla bean will do, although Grade B beans are the finest for extracting vanilla.
- Another taste, such as lemon or almond extract, may be desired. If you’re creating several bottles and want some variation, this is the way to go.
How to Keep Vanilla Extract Fresh
The best way to keep vanilla extract fresh is to keep it between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 and 26 degrees Celsius). A pantry or a closet are also excellent options, but make sure they’re not too close to the oven or any other source of heat.
To keep the light out and create a tight seal, choose a cobalt or amber jar with a swing-top or screw-top lid. Although the cork-top bottles have a rustic appearance, they are prone to letting in undesirable odors.
Mark the date you created it with a label. As a result, you’ll be able to tell exactly how long the essence has been developing.
Homemade vanilla essence should not be kept in the freezer or refrigerator.
Which kind of vanilla bean is best for extracts?
Vanilla beans, like cheese and cacao beans, have a distinct taste depending on where they are grown. When it comes to vanilla bean provenance, stores often don’t have a lot of options. Any of the choices below are ideal for extraction whether you purchase from a spice expert or an online vanilla shop.
The most common type on store shelves is Madagascar beans, often known as Bourbon beans. They have a deep, clear taste with a creamy undertone and are slender in form. Despite the fact that they are often referred to as Bourbon beans, they are unrelated to the beverage in any manner. They have the most intense taste.
Mexican beans are considered to be of excellent grade. The plump pods have a taste that is comparable to Madagascar beans but with greater depth. They’re also more aromatic and smoother.
Vanilla beans from Tahiti offer a deep, creamy taste and a flowery scent. They’ll generally cost you extra, but many bakers think it’s worth it.
Ugandan vanilla beans are more difficult to come by, but they have a delicious vanillin taste and a strong fragrance. The faint milk chocolate undertone is a distinguishing feature of these vanilla beans.
Vanilla extract (single-fold vs. double-fold)
The number of “folds” reflects the vanilla extract’s potency. Commercial brands often sell single fold extract, which is twice as potent as double fold and three times as powerful as triple fold. Commercial bakers often use double fold and greater extracts.
Questions that are often asked
What kind of alcohol is best for vanilla extract?
Any bottle of cheap 80-proof vodka will absorb the vanilla bean’s flavors. Bourbon, rum, or brandy are some more common kinds of alcohol to utilize.
What is the shelf life of handmade vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract produced from alcohol and vanilla beans has the ability to last indefinitely; but, after two years, the beans lose their strength.
Will creating my own vanilla essence save me money?
Despite the fact that vanilla beans are costly up front, just four beans will yield a full cup of liquid essence. Once you’ve used half of the bottle, just refill it with additional alcohol to save even more money. Because you may use the same beans for two years, DIY vanilla extract is considerably less expensive than store-bought vanilla.
How many vanilla beans should you use to make extract?
Depending on your taste preferences, the quantity of beans needed to produce vanilla extract may vary. To achieve a flavorful outcome, use four vanilla bean pods for every cup of vodka. 2-3 pods will enough for a milder flavor.
What is the best way to keep vanilla beans?
When you arrive home from the shop, keep your gourmet vanilla beans in a cool, dry location, such as a closet or pantry. Keep them out of direct sunlight and heat sources like the oven. If properly kept, they should survive up to two years.
What can I do with my vanilla essence in the kitchen?
Vanilla extract is a versatile ingredient that may be used in a variety of baked products, puddings, sweets, and savory meals. Cream, hot drinks, cocktails, savory sauces, and marinades all benefit from it.
Is it possible to repurpose vanilla beans?
Even after being used in recipes or to produce extract, used vanilla beans retain some of their characteristics. Vanilla sugar is a great application for these bean pods. Allow the beans to dry for a few days before placing them in a sugar jar. Before usage, wait a week or two, shaking every couple of days.
Vanilla’s quick facts
Although vanilla is most often associated with sweet foods, it may also be used to reduce acidity in savory recipes. It is costly: After saffron, vanilla is the world’s second most costly spice. Vanillin is necessary: Vanillin is the main vanilla flavour in the spice. It has a wonderful, deep flavor, and the more of it there is, the higher the quality of the bean. The regulations are as follows: Every gallon of pure vanilla extract must contain at least 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean, according to the FDA. Pollination: The vanilla blossom can only be pollinated by the Central American melipona bee. Humans employ a unique technology to guarantee pollination takes occur everywhere else on the planet.
To sum it up
Consider producing homemade vanilla extract if you want to enhance the taste of your baking and sweets or if you need a quick present idea. It’s also a highly cost-effective method to include vanilla into your cuisine.
Despite the length of the essay, the processes are straightforward. To begin, cut the pods lengthwise and place them in a bottle of vodka.
Location the container in a dark place for two months. The liquid will change color from clear to dark brown in a few of days. The vanilla extract will be excellent after 8 weeks, however for better flavor, we suggest keeping it longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ingredients to vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract is made from vanilla beans, alcohol, water, and sometimes sugar.
Is it cheaper to make your own vanilla extract?
It is cheaper to make your own vanilla extract, but it would be more time-consuming.
How many times can vanilla beans be used to make vanilla extract?
There is no limit on how many times you can use vanilla beans to make vanilla extract.