Monday, February 7, 2005

70 Centiliter Wonder of Vanilla



You can't buy vanilla extract in Denmark. Well, you can, but it is HILARIOUSLY expensive. Not just expensive, but tummy-turning, pocket-wrenching expensive. Browsing through Santos' archives (I've got some catching up to do, with blogs being off-limit for the most of December and January - exam, remember?) I found this - and thought it would be appropriate to share with all of you sad souls out there, that, like me, can't lay your hands on anything like those gigantic, everlasting bottles, SIGH! - how EASY, BREEZY it is to do your own extract. I got the - well, it's not exactly a recipe, more like a guideline - from the lovely chicks at Nigella's Kitchen.

Take 5-6 vanilla pods and a bottle of good-quality vodka, rum or cognac. Slit the pods open, and place in the bottle of alcohol. Shake. Leave for a couple of weeks, somewhere dark, shaking every time you remember it's there. Then - use at you would your ordinary extract. You can refill the bottle when you think it's running a little low, and add extra pods everytime you have one at hand, like after making ice cream and other vanilla-seed containing delicacies. Is that easy or what?

And knowing you have as much heady-scented vanilla extract around as you could possibly want is just - bliss! Not having to count every drop and wonder when the next time will be you go abroad so yo can stock up is no longer an issue - it's just there, and in copious amounts too. What, you're still there? Go make your vanilla extract! Enjoy!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant idea, and you're right, pure vanilla extract is fudging expensive in Norway too. I am going to make mine in rum! 

Posted by OsloFoodie

Anonymous said...

Hi Zarah,

I must try this, it sounds brilliant! I can imagine how expensive they are in Scandinavia. (Oh, and I've put a link to your site on mine, I hope you wouldn't mind!) 

Posted by Keiko

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! It's never occurred to me that making my own vanilla extract was possible. You've done a great public service, my friend!

Cheers,
 

Posted by Moira

Anonymous said...

wow, now you say it, it is so obvious, but never occured to me! Just made this today, in a couple of weeks I will have half a liter of Vanilla exract for the price of a eetsy beetsy tiny bottle in the supermarket! Thank you! 

Posted by Hande

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! I'm glad I could be of service - this really is useful, I remember always leaving out extract here and there because I thought the drops too precious - and vanilla just shouldn't be left out of anything sweet in my opinion, so I was so happy to find out I could do this!

OsloFoodie, let us know how it goes with the rum - I opted for vodka 'cause I thought it the most taste-neutral, but I bet rum will be nice too!

Keiko - don't mind at all, your pictures are so pretty and I'll put up a link for your blog here as soon as possible!

Moira & Hande - My pleasure! I know exactly how you felt, it really was a "Well DUH!"-moment for me too!

Good luck with the extract adventures!

 

Posted by ZarahMaria

ejm said...

Some years ago, we poured vodka into one of those tiny bottles that are served on airplanes (we weren't on the airplane....). There is room for one vanilla pod in that size of bottle and it is the perfect size to go with other extracts in the cupboard. As you know, the resulting vanilla extract was brilliant.

Hmmm. I wonder why we haven't made more - maybe it's because vanilla pods are astronomically expensive here in Toronto. Vanilla extract is pretty expensive too but I don't think it's as much as buying the vodka and vanilla beans.

Anonymous said...

Is it as strong as the kind you were previously using? have you tasted it yet?

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Anon! Well, alcohol-wise, it isn't - I believe the "real" kind (hey, mine's real, I've made it myself!;-)) is made with 70 or 80 % alcohol - but tastewise, it is! If you don't think it's vanilla-y enough, add more vanilla pods -everytime I have one left over from say, doing ice cream, I pop it into the bottle, so it just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I actually used it once for a vanilla vodka shot - just shaked it on ice. I thought it was a good idea, but I actually found the taste to be to strong to just drink it like it is - hence, strong enough to use in cakes I'd say!

Lyn said...

I have had a bottle of vanilla like this going for 8 years (and two intercontinental moves) now, along with its sister product - vanilla sugar. I keep topping both up and occasionally adding new beans (after I've used the seeds in a recipe) I use both items constantly! If you like making lemon based desserts, you can do both the extract and sugar with lemon (or orange, or lime...)rind instead of vanilla pod...

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Lyn! I have vanilla sugar too, as well as sugar scented with lemon rind, orange rind and rosemary, but I never thought about using those as base for an extract. For the sugars I usually dry the zest, would you do that for the extract too - or would that be stupid, considering you're putting them in liquid anyways? Sounds very interesting, I hate using those little smelly bottles of extract this and extract that...