Monday, August 30, 2010

Make it Yourself Monday Homemade Vanilla Extract

I, along with my sister have, have been making a conscious effort this summer to buy organic from the local farmer's market.  It has been really wonderful but it has sparked something in me to start eating more organic and homemade products.  A few months ago I saw the maker of the documentary Food Inc. on the Oprah show.  Oprah discussed the fact that our foods have so many preservatives, and added hormones & antibiotics than the food our grandparents ate.  This really stuck with me.  The last time I felt really well and healthy I was eating organic foods, and meats with no added growth hormone I lost 50 pounds, and slept like a baby!  If the thoughts above are not currently a high priority for you, let me appeal to your money-minded side, which is really what this blog is all about!  I decided to make a small jar of vanilla extract as a test, and if this comes out well, I am going to be using it to give as gifts for the holidays, most likely in some gift baskets with other homemade items like peanut and almond butter.    I used a canning jar since we have so many but you can find many jars at garage sales, thrift stores or Dollar stores. 

I took a whole vanilla pod, split it lengthwise, and cut  it into several pieces.  I estimated an entire pod based on recipes I had seen, like one vanilla bean to 3 tablespoons of vodka.  That was not enough for me to make.  I added almost a full  canning jar of  Grey Goose that had been given to us as a gift.    Now, I just shake the jar every day for 4 weeks, after that you can strain it and bottle it. 

Since I estimated I will taste it after 4 weeks and add more vanilla beans if needed.  This will give me plenty of time to have this ready for Holiday gifts.  Here are a few recipes that can fit multiple needs.  Enjoy! 

 I will be posting the "recipe" for my almond and peanut butters as well.....


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