Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Extract

Love to bake but don’t want the all the extra sugar and gluten? Do you want to make absolutely, positively sure your vanilla extract is 100% pure, sugar-free, gluten-free, allergy-free and made only of honest-to-goodness, real, natural vanilla beans? Then make it yourself! It’s so easy. Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Extract takes only 3 things: vodka, Tahitian vanilla beans and time.

  • 1 750ml bottle of vodka.
    Avoid cheap, rot-gut booze. A good-quality, organic, gluten-free vodka like Tito's, that’s distilled 3 or more times is just right.
  • 3-5 Tahitian vanilla beans*
    If you want it twice as strong, or in half the time, double the number of beans.

  • With a sharp paring knife, split the beans lengthwise but don’t scrape out the seeds, a.k.a. vanilla caviar. Leave the seeds in the bean.
  • Place the split beans in the vodka, making sure to cover the beans completely. Then seal the bottle tightly.
  • Every week or so give the bottle a vigorous shaking.
  • Allow to extract for a minimum of four weeks before using.

The hardest part is waiting! After about two months, most of the vanilla flavor will be extracted from the beans, but it takes about six months for a complete extraction. We like to leave the spent beans in the jar for looks. It is okay to leave the beans in the bottle.

When you’re running low on extract, add more vodka and some beans. Vanilla extract lasts indefinitely when kept in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight container.

Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Extract makes a great do-it-yourself gift that any baker would love to receive. You may want to pour it into smaller containers such as a canning jar, or any glass jar with a tight seal. Before filling the new containers, make sure to sterilize them by boiling for thirty minutes.

Gift Tip: Some people like to see the tiny black vanilla seeds, but you can remove them by straining through a coffee filter. For aesthetic reasons, you can replace the old bean with a fresh one that has not been split.

Of course, if you don’t have time, or are not the DIY type, you can get 100% pure, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, allergy-free, vegan, kosher, Tahitian vanilla extract here. If you want to make it yourself, get your premium Tahitian vanilla beans here.

*Note: Tahitian vanilla beans are larger, more moist and more plump than other beans. If you can’t use Tahitian vanilla beans, then use 2-3 times as many of the other types of vanilla beans.

(Photo location courtesy of The Wilson, San Francisco)

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