Homemade Vanilla

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

With all the cooking around here I noticed that my 1/2 gallon of vanilla was getting low so I recently purchased some vanilla beans to make more. This recipe was given to me 12 years ago by Cozette Vaught, the fab cook here in Wynne. She's been making her own vanilla for years and it's divine. I love being able to make it and I have given it as gifts during the holidays. If you do this, you may consider adding a few drops of store bought vanilla to darken it. Some cooks could freak when they see the color of yours but they should let the taste speak for itself.

I use a 1/2 gallon of the cheapest Vodka I can find and 4 vanilla beans. According to Cozette, the type of vodka doesn't matter, it is the bean that matters. Until this purchase of beans at Fresh Market in Memphis, I usually buy Madagascar Vanilla Beans via amazon.com. We'll see in a year what I think!

Homemade Vanilla from Cozette Vaught

1/2 gallon cheap vodka
4 vanilla beans
dark storage for 1 year

Get your beans on a cutting board and split down the middle. The inside of the bean provides the flavor and is grainy, so when splitting, don't scrape out the insides, just split and open with your fingers. Put all beans in new vodka bottle and store in a dark place, keeping the splash proof insert of the bottle intact. When I finish a 1/2 gallon I never throw away previous beans, I always add them to my new 1/2 gallon. It takes me 1-2 years to finish an entire 1/2 gallon of vanilla.

If giving as a gift be sure to filter due to tiny pieces of vanilla bean will come loose from the bean over time. I never filter when I pour out of the bottle when I cook, by the way.

My Epicurean Cutting Board purchased at the Viking Cooking School is really great! I recommend it for your epicurean as a gift!


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