****Updated with more info on Reusing beans for more than one batch of vanilla and the film at the top of my jars … scroll down for the info.****
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In my rabid searching of the Internet for fun DIY projects and inspiring projects I came across Bethany Actually’s tutorial on homemade vanilla which looked super easy and completely worth the effort.
I looked into the suggested link from Bethany’s blog about where to buy the bottles and decided to ask friends on facebook if anyone might be interested in ordering with me. Shipping was quite expensive for only 12 bottles so I figured if we could order a few more and disburse the cost we might be ahead before we even begin.
Then I found the vanilla beans on amazon and Katie and I ordered them to split since we only needed 20 beans for the vanilla recipe. We ended up getting 60 which left us each with 10 extra beans to use however we wanted … I added some into a cookie recipe, used them in my Raspberry Charlotte and still have some left over to use in baking. Yum!
SO … now that we have everything we need … let’s make some vanilla!
Gather your beans, vodka, and bottles.
And have a funnel and glass measuring cup near by.
I started by cutting all 20 of my beans into 3 parts each, then made 12 piles with the vanilla bean pieces for each bottle.
Put the beans into the bottles until all the bottles have their beans!
Measure 1/2 Cup Vodka into the glass meassuring cup and pour through funnel into each bottle, repeat until all bottles are full. Close with caps.
Place in a sunny sill to distill for up to 4 months.
**A few notes: Mine have been sitting in the sunniest sill of our apartment for about 2 1/2 weeks and are very amber in color already. They also have a small amount of film at the top and I’m really hoping that it’s just because of the denseness of the distilling vanilla in the sun and not because something green and unfriendly is growing. Right now, I’m going with it’s part of the process. I’ll let you know.**
UPDATE: The film at the top of my jar was just the teeny little vanilla seeds inside the beans collecting at the top (and bottom) and was nothing to be afraid of. I have since reused my beans for more vanilla. I found for this process I can only reuse my beans once (so I get two batches out of one jar with the same beans). Reusing them more than that and the distilling takes a VERY long time for the amber color to set in.
I’ve also heard that you should put the jars (to distill) in a cool, dark place. Which is the opposite of what I did/read when I did this the first time. In the end, I don’t know how much it really matters. Vanilla is still vanilla. It’s wonderful and taste amazing. I can definitely tell the difference in my baking.