Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Making Things From Scratch

The harsh realization that the year is more than half over has me getting serious about crossing some things off of my 30 by 30 list. One of the more vague things on my list was "make things from scratch." Uh, okay. I'm not sure what exactly I had in mind when I came up with that goal, but I'm giving it a shot.

Vanilla Extract From Scratch
I actually started this first project several weeks ago, and it won't be finished until close to the end of the year... Despite the time commitment, I hesitate to even count this as making something from scratch because it was so simple.

  • First, buy vanilla beans and booze. I ordered my vanilla beans from Beanilla and decided to go wild and buy both rum and vodka. Apparently you can make the extract using either type of alcohol. I made most of mine with vodka and used the leftover rum for mojitos, win/win.
 Vanilla beans are somewhat expensive ($20 for twelve) because they are the fruit of a very particular and rare flower that blooms for about one day and must be pollinated by hand.

  • Split the beans in half lengthwise and stuff them into mason jars or whatever is housing your extract- to-be.

  • Add one cup of liquor for every three beans.
 {Here's the rum variety on day one.}

{Here it is with the vodka version when I whipped that up two days later.}
  • Shake and wait. Put in a dark cabinet. Repeat.
{It's been a month, and although it looks more like vanilla extract now, it still smells like vanilla vodka.
According to some websites, the extract could be ready in as few as six weeks, but most recommend waiting three to six months. I'm thinking mine will be done in time for Christmas gifting and baking.

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