Monday, July 23, 2012

We Made 3 Kinds of Vanilla for Gifts

  A few months ago we received a bottle of Mexican vanilla as a gift. My husband, Bob, and I just love this vanilla!
  It's much stronger and has a better taste than what was in my cupboard. It has a fruity, floral and caramel taste. It's wonderful in tapioca pudding and anything else we've put it in. After looking online for this product, (they don't sell this exact kind online), I decided to make our own vanilla extract.
  I settled on three kinds of beans. Madagascar, Mexican and Tahitian.

 These two kinds of vanilla beans are what we made extract from yesterday. I also ordered Tahitian beans but they haven't arrived yet. In 5-6 months we'll have a lot of vanilla extract! 
  I plan to give gifts of 3 bottles of extract, one of each kind. It'll be a fun gift. I think I'll make some vanilla sugar to go along with it. I plan to leave bean pieces in each bottle so that vodka can be poured in, making a non- stop supply. I'll give each set with a tiny bottle of vodka for refilling.

 The Mexican beans were the most expensive, that's why I only got 25 beans. The Madagascar beans were the cheapest so I got a pound of those, which worked out to 80 beans.

  It's very easy to make extract. Put 8 beans, (cut the beans into 1/2" long pieces) into each 8 oz. of vodka. Store in a cool dark place and shake every day for 5- 6 months.

  I did use the Tattler re-useable lids. I know the regular lids aren't good to use with acidic fruit like tomatoes so I didn't want to take a chance with the alcohol.

 This photo to the left shows Madagascar beans before we poured in the vodka. They were very woody and harder to cut through than the other kinds.

  These are the near gourmet beans that I got free from Vanilla Products USA. They gave them to me when I bought a pound of beans. They were plump and full of oils. We decided to save these for baking.

  I didn't take pics of the Mexican beans. I got busy cutting before I realized I should be taking pics. I get a little excited with new projects. The Mexican beans were flatter and looked drier.

  Bob and I will shake these for the next 5-6 months.

   I was pleasantly surprised to see so much color after just 1 day!

  So far this is what we've got. One quart jar and 10 pint jars. One pint has only 1 cup liquid. When I get the Tahitian beans we'll finish it up. Then it's just shake and wait, shake and wait.......
  I'll give updates every once in a while. We should have a nice rich extract by Christmas. Yeah!

  My 1 oz bottles came today!!! I have 5 months to design some labels. I've been working on it a little already.

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