Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vanilla Anyone?

Since I joined TWD I have been baking like a mad woman! I feel as if I should bake everyday, OK, so what is wrong with that? Well, nothing! But the amounts of vanilla extract I have been going through is amazing and I won't buy artificial flavorings, yuck! Call me a snob, but no way. I started to wonder about making my own vanilla and maybe, never run out again. Off to the Internet I went and I found this recipe for homemade vanilla at The Traveler's Lunchbox , wow, how easy was this? Melissa's recipe is very easy, so easy you will wonder why you haven't been making your own extract before. We had some partial bottles of vodka and what the hell, I'll try anything once, just to see.

Melissa mentions several sites to purchase vanilla beans for a reasonable price, I checked them out and felt this one, Vanilla Products USA , was a good one, they are also on ebay. I think their store on ebay is much better than the actual web site. I placed my order on Monday and my beans are here, two days later, on Wednesday! Beans are as described and smell sooooo good!. I bought 1/2 pound of beans for making vanilla and 1/4 pound of gourmet beans for baking; their prices are unbelievably low, considering what you pay in the markets for 3 wizened up beans. I now have a bizillion vanilla beans all wrapped up, they will last a very long time if kept properly. These beans are plump, fat and full of good vanilla stuff.

So, here is my ginormous bottle of vanilla, ready to be stored in my pantry, all I have to do is wait several weeks, use what I need and top off with more vodka; then add a few vanilla bean pods when I use the seeds for baking.
The spent pods can also be used to make vanilla sugar and salt (?). Who new? Well maybe you have been making your own vanilla but for me this is really cool.

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