26 July 2012

Homemade Vanilla Essence

I'm off on holiday tomorrow, and procrastinating about packing. So when there's something I don't want to do, I find an absolutely MUST, couldn't possibly not, how dire if I didn't thing to do in the kitchen. Today was easy. A lovely friend left Doha (not so lovely she left) and gave me her stash of Vanilla Beans.

They are heavenly and I racked my brains thinking about how best to use them to maximise their gorgeous gorgeous flavour. So I decided on Vanilla Essence (Extract for you American folk), for one thing we can't get the real stuff here - has alcohol in it, which is by and large taboo, unless you have a permit and shop at the one and only alcohol store. Whilst they stock alcohol, they don't stock vanilla essence. So I trotted on down, bought me a bottle of vodka and set to turning these delicious little numbers into Extract. Bear in mind that was 8 weeks ago, and today I decided to pop it into bottles to give as gifts (that was the MUST do in the kitchen thing).

Home made Vanilla Essence (Vanilla Extract)

  • 1 litre vodka
  • 10 - 15 whole vanilla beans (I used 10, next time I would definately use 15)


Not too tricky really, slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds (I only scraped some of the seeds out, not all, but I think it would benefit from all of the seeds). Pop the seeds and the pods into a glass jar.

Cover with vodka and give a little shake.

Set aside in a dark cupboard for 8 weeks, shaking the bottle twice a week if you remember. Pop into bottles, add a vanilla bean to each bottle and share the joy with your friends. I popped 2 vanilla beans into each bottle so that when the bottle gets half way through it can be topped up with vodka, shaken and used a week or two later. It's the gift that keeps on going.

Here's a photo of the back of the bottle showing the colour of the vanilla essence. It could easily go a shade or two darker.

1 comment:

  1. wow! I never thought of making homemade essence. I bought a bottle of vanilla pods at M&S a few months ago and figured it would go into my cooking/baking at some point. It never has. Maybe this will be their deliverance :-)

    Thanks Gill!