Thursday, May 22, 2008

Make Your Own Vanilla!

I found this recipe in one of my raw food recipe books and decided to try it. It doesn't sound like it should work. Surely the real vanilla that you pay a fortune for in the stores must be a whole lot harder to make than this. NOPE! This is so easy and it works great. The liquid (vanilla extract) is fragrant and flavorful and always ready.

I estimate it to cost about half of commercial extract and it is alcohol free, another bonus.
I get the ingredients from my home delivery coop, Azure Standard, who only delivers on the Pacific coast right now and some inland states as well, but you can also order for UPS delivery if your order is over 40.00. For those of you regular Azure people I've included the order codes and prices for your convenience.

Here is the "recipe"

Cut up (or leave whole) 2 or 4 whole vanilla pods.(HS664 $4.40 oz.) These are dried black long pods and are somewhat rubbery to cut. Don't be confused by the "instructions" on the Azure page. I have not found the beans they talk about being inside the pod. I just use the whole pod.

Add them to a pint of food grade glycerine (NS075 $4.40 pint) and leave overnight. By morning the thick, clear glycerine liquid will have extracted the powerful flavor of the pod and is ready to use. I just leave the pod pieces in the liquid or I guess you could take them out. The liquid will not be dark like the commercial vanilla. I'm not sure why. Perhaps manufacturers puree the pods making the liquid dark, but your vanilla will be perfectly clear and flavorful.

That's it. The pint will cost you $8.80 total and I've even reused the pod pieces in another batch of glycerine with almost the same results. The flavor does seem a little weaker though.
Add to raw smoothies or baked goods. The flavor seems to last either way. Enjoy!