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Old 01-26-2011, 12:58 PM   #1
SCOTTSDALEJULIE
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Home made Vanilla

I'm going to try this. The author says that once you try this you will never go back to store bought.
Chef Meg's Vanilla Flavoring
Description
Recipe
About “Vanilla” extract usually isn’t made with real vanilla. The real stuff adds such a layer of flavor to your baked goods that once you’ve made your own, you’ll never want to go back. The good news is that it’s really easy—and affordable.
Vanilla beans are about $1 each, and because you’re only using a cup of vodka, you can just buy the “airplane” size bottles. It ends up being about 5 cents per serving.
This makes a great hostess gift. Make a large batch of it and give it away as a holiday gift.

Yields: 48 servings

2 vanilla beans
8 ounces vodka

Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the bean using a knife, and place both the seeds and the beans in a glass jar with a lid. Warm the vodka to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the warmed vodka over the beans and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, seal the jar. Store at room temperature for one week, shaking the jar every other day. Strain the mixture, then store in a sealed container. Flavoring will keep for a year, but chances are you’ll use it up before then.
Makes 48 one teaspoon servings.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:33 PM   #2
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We made vanilla from a recipe, think I got it here, but you used a whole bottle of Vodka, 6 or 8 vanilla beans, but you didn't warm the vodka. You had to leave it sit in the dark for two months. Vanilla beans here cost too much so got them off the internet. It still isn't very strong yet and it's been at least 4 months since we did it. So, let us know how yours turns out. I was really disappointed, just added a few more beans about the 3d month......... Ann
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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I've made this many times in the years. I've had to leave mine in the dark for a year. It takes that long for the vanilla to come of age.
Don't be disappointed it will be vanilla. You can also use your beans again, if you don't scrape them. I love it. It's the only kind I use. At the end of the year it will be amazing and very dark. Hang in there Ann it will work.


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Old 01-26-2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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Ann, maybe because this is a smaller amount and the vodka is heated. Julie
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:57 PM   #5
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I tried this several years ago. Ann and I must have read the same instruction. I let it sit for a long time, probably close to a year, but to me it tasted like alcohol! Tossed it. I'm not a drinker so that flavor was not pleasant to me. Never did taste any vanilla at all.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #6
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I've made this, too. I think it had to set for 3 months (shaking the bottle occasionally) before using. Mine is about 3 or 4 years old, now. I take out what I need...put into an empty vanilla bottle...then replace what I took out with more vodka. I do not remove the vanilla beans. The vanilla beans are whole, no seeds removed. Seems to work for me. Sometimes I'll add some to a mug of coffee topped with low carb whipped cream to make Kahluan coffee.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:30 PM   #7
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I have made it both with vodka and brandy. It's ok, but certainly nowhere as good as the commercially available extracts. It is more like an alcohol thing with vanilla... and mine has been sitting longer than a year, and it's not improving.

I also put split vanilla beans in granular erythritol and xylitol, just like I used to when I used sugar. It's great that way, if you want to do something with the vanilla beans when you decide the extract isn't such a hot idea... LOL

I have also made low carb vanilla liquor, like Tuaca, with brandy, vanilla beans, liquid splenda, and some secret ingredients I have forgotten. It's also good in low carb Kahlua that way.

there are great deals on vanilla beans on eBay, or at least there were when I bought mine. I got about 20 each of the Tahitian and Madagascar/Bourbon types. I really prefer the Madagascar, but the Tahitian beans were so delightfully large and plump! They keep a very long time without losing flavor in a closed jar. years. they get a bit dry, but that isn't really any big deal. just cut them with kitchen scissors.

btw, "vanilla bean" sounds so fancy as a flavor in things like ice cream, but bear in mind that 99% of the time it's the ground vanilla beans that have already had their flavor spent in making extract, combined with a little vanilla extract or artificial flavor.

I have always been a total snob about vanilla, but it was interesting to read that Cook's Illustrated did a pretty big test and found that even the vanilla snobs almost all like the fake stuff better if they don't know that's what it is. so make your choice.
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Last edited by ravenrose; 01-26-2011 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Lytle View Post
We made vanilla from a recipe, think I got it here, but you used a whole bottle of Vodka, 6 or 8 vanilla beans, but you didn't warm the vodka. You had to leave it sit in the dark for two months. Vanilla beans here cost too much so got them off the internet. It still isn't very strong yet and it's been at least 4 months since we did it. So, let us know how yours turns out. I was really disappointed, just added a few more beans about the 3d month......... Ann
Hi Ann…
A lot of chefs have a pint or quart mason jar in their prep area that they stuff full of 'gutted' vanilla beans, and then fill with vodka. This is what they make their vanilla with…lots of ''empty beans'' per jar.

I saw one chef's jar on his table and it was a quart of shelled beans (he uses lots of vanilla to cook with). He says every time he scrapes out a bean the empty goes into the jar. He starts over every year or so.

He keeps topping off the jar…

If you go to YouTube there are numerous examples of making vanilla extract…here's one example (there are tons).


Hope this pushes the thread along…




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Old 01-26-2011, 04:28 PM   #9
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I just bought a pound of 'Bourbon' grade b vanilla beans from Arizona Vanilla and have it steeping in vodka right now. This is my second go-round of making vanilla--it makes great Christmas presents. Cost with shipping for the beans was about $48.

If your homemade vanilla is not good, could be you got bad beans, or could be that you didn't use enough. Arizona vanilla says (I think I have this right) about 1 pound of beans per gallon of vodka, 6 beans for 1 cup of vodka.

Be really careful about warming the vodka-NO OPEN FLAMES. I would hate to see someone wander off and flambe their kitchen.

I don't warm the vodka, and mine turns out great in about 4 months. After I pour the nice dark brown vanilla off, I pour some more vodka on. My 'spent' beans from the last batch still smell really good, but they were not coloring the third pour of vodka.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:44 PM   #10
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Hi, I've been making my own vanilla extracts since 2003... ;-)

You may find these 'old threads' interesting:

http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/lo...ff-expire.html

http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/lo...-extracts.html

And this information from:

http://www.vanilla.com/

No longer on their site but here is my copy...I highlighted in Italics several items related to your posts above... ;-)

"Originally, everyone used vanilla beans. Vanilla extract has been commercially available for a little more than a hundred years. The first extracts were made at apothecary shops (the first pharmacies and drug stores) and were more like a tincture or syrup. They were strong and very sweet and were often used to calm upset stomachs. Now extracts are available just about everywhere - in convenience stores, supermarkets, fancy gourmet shops, and online. Along with extracts, there are additional products to choose from: natural vanilla flavor, cookie vanilla, imitation vanilla, vanilla blend, double-fold vanilla, vanilla paste, vanilla powder, etc.

Pure vanilla gives us one of the most complex tastes in the world, having well over 250 organic components creating its unique flavor and aroma. I'm often asked if one type of vanilla is better than the other. In truth, they're just different so it's a matter of your own personal taste. Even the same species of vanilla beans grown in different parts of the world will vary in flavor and aroma due to climate and soil differences. While some beans are higher in natural vanillin content than others, this isn't the only indicator of flavor or quality.

How do you decide which product to buy? Your preference may be influenced by what your family traditionally used for vanilla flavoring, the taste to which you are accustomed. The following list explains more about the products on the shelf. You may want to experiment some to decide which appeals to you.

Pure Vanilla Extract

There are about 150 varieties of vanilla, though only two are used commercially--Bourbon and Tahitian. Vanilla extract is made by percolating or macerating chopped vanilla beans with ethyl alcohol and water.

The process is usually kept as cool as possible to keep flavor loss to a minimum, though some manufacturers feel that there must be heat to create the best extraction.

Most companies use a consistent blend of beans, sometimes from several regions, to create their signature flavor. The extraction process takes about 48 hours after which the extracts will mellow in the tanks with the beans from days to weeks, depending on the processor, before being filtered into a holding tank where the amber-colored liquid extract remains until being bottled.

While the Federal Food and Drug Administration has specific regulations in the United States regarding commercial extract manufacturing, there are variables that create significant differences in extract flavor and quality. For instance, the FDA requires a minimum of 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans to a gallon of a minimum of 35% alcohol to 65% water mixture.

There are no regulations on the quality of the beans, so beans can range from premium-quality to the driest cuts and splits containing only small amounts of natural vanillin. Although 35% is the standard alcohol requirement,vanilla extra premium cuts often contain a higher percentage of alcohol in order to extract more flavor from the beans. More alcohol is okay with the FDA; less than 35% is not.

The extract may also contain sugar, corn syrup, caramel, colors, or stabilizers. All additives must be on the label, but the FDA doesn't require that the percentage of additives be listed. As vanilla is naturally sweet, it isn't necessary to use additional sweeteners, though some companies use 25% or more sugar in their extracts and some use only a small percentage of sugar as a stabilizer. Adding 20% or more sugar to a newly made extract is like fortifying any alcoholic product. It takes the edge off the harshness of the un-aged product, which is, at least partially, why some companies continue to use a significant amount sugar in their flavorings.

Extracts made with premium beans and little to no sugar offer a fresh clean flavor to cuisine. Though these extracts may be expensive, the flavor is cleaner and it carries well to the finished product. Vanilla ages during the time that it goes through the channels from factory to your shelf. Some companies hold the extracts in their manufacturing area for up to a year to make certain the extract is well aged before they ship it out. Vanilla extracts continue to develop body and depth for about two years, at which time they stabilize. They will keep indefinitely as long as they're stored in a cool dark place such as a pantry or cupboard that's away from the stove or bright sun. Refrigeration is not recommended.

Comparing extract quality is a lot like comparing whiskeys. There's a significant difference between low-end and call- or name- brand Bourbon and Scotch. Part of the difference has to do with allowing the whiskey to age properly, without the use of chemical additives. The same is true for vanillas. Premium extracts may be more expensive, but the flavor will be significantly better because they've been made from the finest ingredients, contain few if any additives, and are naturally aged. This means that your fabulous secret family recipe cookies will be even better if you use quality vanilla extract.

Varieties of Pure Vanilla Extracts

Mexican vanilla is made from Vanilla planifolia (now sometimes called fragrans) plant stock indigenous to Mexico. It is a very smooth, creamy, spicy vanilla. It's especially good in desserts made without heat or with a short cooking time. Dark chocolate, cream desserts, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, ethnic foods, wild game, poultry or meat, all benefit from Mexican vanilla.

Bourbon vanilla is a generic term for Vanilla planifolia, the vanilla most of us are familiar with as it's the most commonly used variety in extracts. Vanilla planifolia stock originated in Mexico, vanilla's birthplace, but cuttings were taken to other tropical countries beginning in the 1700s. In the 1800s, the French developed large plantations on Reunion, known then as the Ile de Bourbon, which is how the name Bourbon came into being. Although vanilla extract is high in alcohol content, it is not made from Bourbon whiskey.

Bourbon and Mexican vanillas have the familiar natural vanillin flavor that we associate with vanilla ice cream and other vanilla-flavored desserts and beverages. Use Bourbon vanilla in baked goods, ice cream and anything where a traditional vanilla flavor is desired.

Indonesian vanilla Depending on how Indonesian vanilla is cured and dried, it can be much like Bourbon vanilla, or it can have very distinctive differences. Some growers harvest their beans too early and use a short-term curing process that give the vanilla a more woody, phenolic flavor. As the early harvest keeps the beans from fully developing their flavor profile, it can be harsher and not as flavorful. It's important to note that not all Indonesian vanilla is harvested too early; premium grade Indonesian vanilla is excellent.

Frequently Indonesian vanilla is blended with Bourbon vanilla to create a signature flavor. Indonesian vanilla tends to hold up well in high heat, so anything slow-baked or exposed to high heat (i.e. cookies), benefits from Indonesian vanilla. Indonesian vanilla is also quite good with chocolate as its flavor overides the sweetness of chocolate and gives it a beneficial flavor-boost. Chocolate's popularity is due, in part, from the sparkle it receives from other flavors as it tends to be somewhat dull on its own.

Tahitian vanilla (Vanilla tahitensis) comes from planifolia stock that was taken to Tahiti. Somehow it mutated, possibly in the wild. It is now classified as a separate species as it's considerably different in appearance and flavor from Bourbon vanilla. It is similar, however, to Vanilla Pompona, a variety of vanilla rarely used commercially, but that has religious and cultural significance with the Totonacas of Mexico, the first cultivators of vanilla. They consider Pompona the queen of vanilla, and she is always planted in a prominent place wherever they grow vanilla.

Tahitian vanilla is sweeter and fruitier and has less natural vanillin than Bourbon and Mexican vanilla. Instead, it contains heliotropin (anis aldehyde), which is unique to its species. This gives it a more cherry-like, licorice, or raisiny taste. It has a very floral fragrance, the bean is fatter and moister than Bourbon vanilla, and contains fewer seeds inside its pod. Tahitian is especially nice in fruit compotes and desserts, as well as in sauces for poultry, seafood and wild game. My recommendation is to try both to see if you have a personal preference. If you still can't decide, combine the two flavors to create your own blend.

Because vanilla is a very labor-intensive agricultural product, vanilla is expensive. Tahitian vanilla has always been more expensive than Mexican and Bourbon vanillas. This is especially true now as it is less readily available.

Natural Vanilla Flavor

People who prefer not to use an alcohol-based extract can substitute natural vanilla flavor found in natural and specialty food stores and some supermarkets. It usually is made with a glycerin or a propylene glycol base. Although the flavor comes from vanilla beans, it doesn't fit the FDA profile for extracts, so it must legally be called natural vanilla flavor.

Note: The texture of natural vanilla - especially in a glycerin base - is viscous and a little darker than vanilla extract. It also smells somewhat different. In uncooked foods and beverages it tastes fairly similar but with a slight aftertaste; in cooked or baked foods, it's more similar to extract.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation vanilla is a mixture made from synthetic substances, which imitate part of natural vanilla smell and flavor. Imitation vanilla in the United States comes from synthetic vanillin, which mimics the flavor of natural vanillin, one of the components that gives vanilla its extraordinary bouquet.

The first synthetics were made in Germany in the 1870s because pure vanilla was so expensive that only the wealthy could afford it. It was first made from coniferin, the glucoside that makes some pines smell a little like vanilla. In the 1890s a French chemist created a synthetic from euganol, found in cloves. The two most common sources for synthetic vanillin have been Lignin Vanillin, a by-product of the paper industry, which has been chemically treated to resemble the taste of pure vanilla extract, and Ethyl Vanillin, which is a coal-tar derivative and frequently far stronger than either Lignin Vanillin or pure vanilla.

In the 1930s, the Ontario Paper Company, was struggling with the sulphite liquor, a by-product of paper making, which was polluting local streams near their plant. Company chemists realized it could be turned into synthetic vanillin, a viable but curious ecological solution to a big problem. If you grew up on synthetics, imitation vanilla will be a familiar flavor for you. Given the fact that vanilla isn't that expensive, you might consider learning to enjoy the real deal. ;-)

Natural Vanillin

Natural vanillin is one of the over two hundred organic components that make up the flavor and aroma of vanilla, and it's the one we most associate with vanilla. Vanilla beans sometimes have pure vanillin crystals that develop on the bean's surface. The crystals give off an iridescent sparkle in sunlight and are quite edible.

Coumarin

Coumarin is a derivative of the tonka bean, which comes from Dipteryx ordorata, a tree native to Brazil. Some of the organic constituents that make up its flavor are similar to, or the same as, those in pure vanilla. Coumarin is frequently found in synthetic vanillas from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean as it's cheap and it makes synthetic vanilla taste more like the natural. Unfortunately, coumarin is considered toxic, especially to the liver, and potentially carcinogenic, and has been banned from the United States since the 1950s. (Dicumarol, which is a derivative of coumarin, is the active ingredient in certain blood-thinning medications, and is legal in the United States.)

Cookie Vanilla

Cookie Vanilla is a brand name for a blend of vanillas created by one of the American vanilla manufacturers. It's a blend of Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla, which makes it sweet and floral. If you enjoy the flavor of Tahitian vanilla but feel pure Tahitian vanilla is too expensive for your budget, then use Cookie Vanilla or make your own blend of Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla extracts.

Vanilla Powder

There are several types of vanilla powders commercially available. Some are made from sucrose that has been ribbon-sprayed with vanilla extract, and some are a dextrose-vanilla extract mix. They are good for putting into beverages if you want a slightly sweet product that dissolves easily. You can also mix them into powdered or granulated sugar for a vanilla-flavored sugar and you can sprinkle the powders on finished foods such as cinnamon/vanilla toast or...on top of the family heirloom cake when it's warm from the oven. Be aware that many of the vanilla powders from Europe are actually synthetic. Check the ingredients list to see if it's natural or not.


Ground Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans ground to a fine powder are sometimes confused with vanilla powder. Ground vanilla beans are sometimes used in commercial and industrial products. Ground vanilla is absolutely exquisite in food. Because it isn't in an alcohol carrier, you won't lose flavor when you cook or bake with it. As a result, you can use about half the amount of beans as extract.

Exhausted Vanilla Beans

Exhausted vanilla beans are the ground residue of the extraction process. They may still hold some flavor and are added to commercial vanilla ice creams (often called "vanilla-bean" ice cream), and other products. They are generally not used in home cooking.

Vanilla Paste

Vanilla paste is a sweet concentrated vanilla extract that has the vanilla bean seeds included in the mix. It is very useful in cooking when you don't want to add much additional liquid."

Just FYI...locarbman ;-)

Last edited by locarbman; 01-26-2011 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:51 AM   #11
Ann Lytle
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Gee guys, I'm overwhelmed with all the info, thanks so much. My vanilla is high up in my cupboard and never have shaken it, so guess I should put it lower. I'll give it more time and more beans................thanks again................ Ann
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:58 AM   #12
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I'm thinking of buying some vanilla beans so I am subscribing to this great thread.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:04 AM   #13
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Good luck dollkey, if you can get it to work, it's a lot less expensive than what they want for no sugar vanilla at the store. I paid almost $9 for a small bottle that didn't last that long..................... Ann
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:14 AM   #14
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The only vanilla extract I have is the ones my MIL sent me from the US. The ones here are vanilla flavoring, I found out and not real vanilla. The ones I was looking at online was like around $7 per bean.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:05 PM   #15
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dollkey, look around on the internet, don't remember where, but got a package with a lot of beans, don't remember how many now, but it was around $9.00............ Ann
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:34 PM   #16
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Christmas Gift

We were given the bottle and the beans. I had to provide
the vodkaand used my favorite. It's supposed to sit
in the dark for at least six months.It will be fun to see what
happens about July. I didn't know to shake it up so thanks
for the info.
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:34 AM   #17
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Wait... so making your own isn't worth it?
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:08 AM   #18
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I would say it's worth it Dollkey, just didn't figure it would take so long. When it is done I have a huge bottle that will last a very long time. When I figure this bottle is ready to use, I will start another, so I should be set for life............ It is getting darker...... ; 0 ] Ann
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:09 AM   #19
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Yes. I have also tried this. It works great. We have infused vodka with other things to drink as well. It does take a long time though. Citrus infused vodka takes less time because it naturally dissolves. By the way, thank you lowcarbman for the post. There is some good info there.
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