Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Gift Idea – Vanilla Extract Results

It’s been a fun month of artisan and homemade gift ideas for vegan, gluten-free, and food-allergic foodies. I started this series by attempting to make my own vanilla extract, and promised that I would report on the results. I am pleased to tell you that the experiment worked!

This may be the simplest food gift I’ve ever made. The recipe is as easy as placing whole vanilla beans in vodka, shaking it up every now and then, and letting it sit for 5-6 weeks. When I started on November 7th, my project looked like this:

In just a few days (on November 13th) I could see the vanilla seeping out of the beans:

By November 27th (about 3 weeks) you can see that it was a nice deep color and it was taking on that sweet vanilla smell:

On December 17th (about 5 ½ weeks) (see the picture at the top of this post), I decided it was ready to bottle:

It was a lot of fun to watch the color of the liquid change over time. This would make a fabulous science fair project!

My next version of this experiment will use bourbon. Vodka was a good choice of alcohol because it starts clear – making it very easy to see the depth of color change over time, but it doesn’t provide the same rich flavor that vanilla made from bourbon does.

Important note
: Make sure you check what grains are used in the making of the alcohol you use. Many alcohols are made from wheat.


Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Colette, I've often thought of making vanilla extract but have never gotten around to actually doing it. And it IS a great gift idea! I think what will get me motivated (besides reading about your experience) is if I can find some really cute bottles to put it in! And thanks for the tip about paying attention to what grain was used in the alcohol - more of my friends have just gone gluten-free!

Colette said...

Jean, I used Boston Round bottles that I purchased on amazon, 4ounce size.