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useful tip tuesday: make your own vanilla

I’m starting to use more and more vanilla beans in my recipes that call for vanilla extract. As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, the flavor difference is pretty amazing. After I scrape my tiny little beans out of the shell and dump them into my mixer, I feel bad throwing away the remains. I’ve read where you can use them to make vanilla sugar, flavor drinks, etc. Instead, I put about 2 oz of vodka into an air tight container and this is where I add my left over shells! Every so often, you want to shake it up so that the shells stay covered in the vodka. Eventually, depending on the number of shells,¬†you’ll end up with a dark extract that is ready to use!

I’ve read that the shelf life for vanilla is between 4 and 5 years, but I wouldn’t keep your home made vanilla for over a year. You can also add the beans to speed up the process. Here is a great picture tutorial by Kitchen Project. I buy my vanilla beans at Penzey’s.

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