I have pretty simple “happy” indicators.
A bowl of lavender, an unread book, a good cup
of tea, a visit from loved ones, and a handful of
vanilla beans- add them together and I have had
a great month!
Meredith is my vanilla bean supplier. She knows my
happiness level rises pretty high when I have vanilla
at hand- and last week I got a shipment of beans- I AM
Tahitian, Madagascar,Ugandan, Indian, Mexican- so many exotic beans!
I decided to make some vanilla right away with the Mexican beans- they
are smoky and spicy with just a hint of cinnamon.
I sealed up the rest of the beans in a glass container- they are vacuum packed-
and still soft in their packages, but vanilla beans dry out quickly, and keep better
in glass jars. DON’T buy dried out hard beans at a cooking store. If they aren’t soft
then the beans are pretty useless as the seeds are dried out and can’t be scraped
I had a small bottle of vodka- I like Grey Goose for distilling the
beans- but it is a matter of personal taste.
I removed 5 beans from the package and slit them lengthwise to open
the bean and release the seeds.
Drop them into the vodka and shake gently for a few seconds.
I cut the label from the bean package since I already have a vanilla and
wanted to keep this one with just the Mexican beans.
This is my working vanilla- I used Belvedere vodka and it is pretty smooth-
there are several varieties of beans in this extract- I like it for regular baking.
This is several years old- look how dark it is!
And here is my latest- still not ready to use- but look how dark it got in
just a couple of weeks! This is just a small bottle and I added a lot of
beans for the amount of vodka.
But I really like making my own extract- it tastes better-there are no artificial
coloring or flavors- and I get to play with vanilla beans! Plus, and this is a big
PLUS, it tastes better!