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Homemade Vanilla Extract
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: Homemade Vanilla Extract Reply with quote

The blogger at Traveler's Lunchbox is making vanilla from whole beans. Sounds like an interesting project. Plus he/she (couldn't find a name) has some suggestions for buying vanilla beans in bulk.

Check it out if you have a mind: www.travelerslunchbox.com
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha--a timely topic for me, extracts. I have an ample supply of vanilla at the moment, but just (this morning!) bought 3 bottles of extracts:
lemon
orange
almond
$4-$5 each for just one tiny spillable ounce! Buying/making in bulk might be a good idea--especially for vanilla, which gets used so much.

My recipe calls for lemon OIL and orange OIL, not extract. I'm hoping it's pretty much the same thing--concentrated flavor.

The "Traveler's Lunchbox" article Rainey mentioned (previous post) makes it sound very easy and very smart to try do-it-yourself vanilla extract.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love that blog. They do some really interesting things.

Will think about trying out the vanilla method, though I would need to find affordable vanilla first... Wink
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I talked with a chef here who makes her own vanilla extract by macerating fresh vanilla pods in Grey Goose vodka. By fresh, I mean that the pods are very moist - not dried and barely pliable like you see so often. I'm sure the choice of vodka could be anything; she just preferred Grey Goose. She owns a fabulous bakery that makes wonderful desserts and treats, and is developing quite a following for her talents.

From the looks of it, she dropped a handful of pods into a 3/4 full bottle of vodka, and let those sit until sufficient vanilla essence had been extracted.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So she uses whole ones with their seeds intact, yes? I rather like the idea of using the seeds and then still being able to get the flavor out of the pods. But perhaps the flavor is deeper/comes faster with the seeds intact. Does she split them?
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think at least some of the beans were split - not sure if they were also scraped. There were a lot of fat vanilla bean pods that she pushed down into the vodka bottle. She also showed me some of the beans that she was using for other purposes. They were so moist that they glistened! It was lovely to behold. I haven't found any as nice as those in my regular haunts, although I'm making a journey to Penzeys before long to see how theirs look.

I'd love to bottle some as holiday gifts.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh! Are you where you can visit a Penzey's? There's one about an hour and a half from here. I wonder if it's worth the drive. I don't need more than one or two spices yet I know I'd walk out with a ton of things I can't afford and don't have room to store.

I generally order the odd lot of 2 or 3 things as I run out.
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srk



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 85
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Traveler's Lunchbox project sounds great, especially given my recent vanilla mishap! But I'm puzzled by her line "all of a sudden I had a problem I'd never faced before: a growing pile of used beans that were still far too fragrant to throw away."

What is she doing with all of those beans in the first place??
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charlsy



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 136
Location: France, Bordeaux

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whenever I use a vanilla pod, for custard or whatever, I clean the pod, dry it with a paper towel, let it air-dry some more, then just drop it in my caster sugar box. And voila : vanilla-flavoured sugar. The box I keep the sugar in usually holds 3 or 4 used pods. It gives the sugar a delicate aroma, I love it.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well why not just do what that wonderful scientist who recently received an IG NOBLE award did. She found a way of extracting artificial vanilla from hamster dung--in fact was able to extract what apparently was quite a good artificial vanilla flavour from a variety of animal dungs. Be warned though before you try this at home---she was not able to extract anything from tiger dung.
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Melly



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Limburg Province, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have vanilla beans in vodka right now. I ordered some of the beans that Clothilde wrote about a while back from this place:
http://www.vanilledemayotte.fr/
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Melly, I ordered some of those also and still have quite a few left. I'm intrigued by this vanilla making project and it might be fun to give away at Christmas!

Traveler's Lunchbox also had an organic source! And reasonably priced. I believe the supermarket chains must make all their profits on spices. At our independent markets - and at Trader Joes, the prices are anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of what the markets charge - it's a crime! I was making a jerk marinade a couple of weeks ago and was out of allspice. I was FORCED to go to Safeway, because that was what was open. It just galled me to spend that kind of money on a tiny jar. Twisted Evil
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes! And one of them is in San Franciso so you can avoid the shipping costs. We're headed up for the Berkeley/USC game so I'm hoping that place will have an outlet or sell directly.

Anyone in the area want to make a field trip of it? Wink
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm starting my vanilla extract tonight - a trip to Penzeys resulted in a fistful of vanilla pods. I'll split the pods and hope for the best.
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Ramon



Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never heard of that blog before, thank you for pointing me in it's direction.
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