Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Getting Started on Two of my Homemade Gifts

  Two of my proposed food gifts both take more time than effort.  And by time I mean time sitting and developing flavor time not labor time.
  This weekend I started a quart of homemade vanilla.  This was actually a little late to start on it as vanilla should sit for at least two months prior to using.  It only takes two ingredients:  vanilla beans and vodka.  I read lots off different homemade vanilla recipes on the web (I'll include links to some of them on my blog posting at toomanypastimes).  I ended up taking the middle road as far as ratio of beans to vodka.  I used two kinds of beans:  Tahitian and Planifolia.
          The steps are easy.  Slice almost to the top of each vanilla bean.
        Put them in a clean canning jar, fill with vodka and cover with a lid.
       Pint jars were already on hand so I used those and smooshed (technical term) the beans down to fit.
I put four of each type of bean in each jar for a total of eight per pint. After a few minutes the vodka was already starting to darken.
  Just store in a dark cool space for two months, give an occasional shake and voila! vanilla.  It took maybe 5 minutes to do this.  Bonus - my kitchen smelled like vanilla for the rest of the weekend.  Right before Christmas I'll pour it into four ounce bottles and give as gifts to my co-workers.
    I also started homemade limoncello but will wait to talk more about that til after the second step next weekend.



  1. looking forward to seeing how your lemoncello works out.

  2. After your vanilla is finished "brewing" you can make vanilla sugar with the beans - dry them out, then tuck them in a container with regular white sugar - yum!

  3. Ooh yum - I can smell it from here...

  4. hehe, vanilla vodka must be absolutely cool

  5. Thanks for the comments! Interestingly good "real" vanilla is made with 35% proof ethyl alcohol. Here is a link to a short article on it here: http://www.food.com/library/vanilla-350. I figure that made with high quality or even mid-range quality vodka (40% proof) it can only be better.
    Sandra - I love vanilla sugar in my coffee! Will definitely be making some.