My friend Alice would be so proud of me…I started a little bit of Christmas crafting this past week! I decided that some homemade treats and DIY kits might be a possibility for gifting this year. One thing that I made for myself that I’ve really been enjoying has been vanilla extract. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and this article that I read in Craft a long time ago made it sound so simple. I don’t boost mine with extract that’s already made, I just allow for more time. I think six months should be good.
The bottle on the left is my vanilla extract. It’s about a year and a half old. The middle bottle has to be about 3 years old then. I made it when we were living in our old apartment in Plainsboro, NJ before we bought our condo. It’s vanilla vinegar. The extract is made from vodka. You don’t have to go top shelf but I wanted it to be smooth so I went with some Stoli. The midde bottle is vanilla soaked rice vinegar. It’s one of the milder varieties with a nice sweetness so it really goes well with the beans.
What do you do with vanilla vinegar? Well, I use it to make buttermilk when I’m baking. I don’t often have it on hand but it can easily be produced my mixing milk (non dairy will also work) and vinegar. I used to use apple cider vinegar for this task but I like the idea of the buttermilk having that extra hint of vanilla. If you want to make it, the beans need to soak for about a month and then it will be ready to use.
Here is the extract after one day. I had a lot of old vanilla beans on hand. I habitually purchase them when I find them for a reasonable price. This batch even has some that I brought back from Paris. I found it for next to nothing in a Moroccan grocery store.
This picture was taken today. The color has changed even since yesterday. I’m confident that I’ve allowed enough time for it to sit in order to give some out for Christmas this year! It’s crazy to think of the winter. Despite the spike in the heat this past week, we aren’t officially into summer yet. The memory of the hot weather still rings fresh but today I am wearing a light sweater and a scarf. It’s rainy and grey and the temperature isn’t supposed to go above 70 for the next four days. I can live with that.