Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY: Vanilla Extract & Label Template



Yes, there is a bonus post this weekend. But this is a post-in-progress, or pip! as I lovingly refer to it. (Just kidding! I did not trademark it. How do people even trademark things? Is it different from copyrighting?? So many questions!!)

Last weekend I began the process of making vanilla extract for my Christmas gifts this year, and since it takes about two months for it to become usable, me posting about it now gives you enough time to gather your ingredients and make some just in time for the holiday as well! The downside to me posting about it now, though, is that the extract just looks like beans floating in water (yum!!!) but I promise that in two months' time I'll update the post with pictures of the warm and gloriously brown finished product. But for now, we will just be happy with the notion that things are going on inside that bottle. Vanilla is being extracted! Molecules are absorbing other molecules!! Flavors are dispersing throughout a liquid!!!

Watching his bottle evolve for two months will be a never-ending thrill ride.
Also, this recipe calls for the vanilla beans to be cut up into pieces, as this increases the exposed surface area of the beans and allows for more vanilla flavor to be extracted. It is not as pretty as whole beans submerged in liquid, but it is more effective.


After two months, I poured my extract into these little brown bottles and printed some labels I'd made onto this brown craft label paper. I tried making an editable pdf file so that you all could type in your own names, but adobe acrobat was not cooperating. So instead I made a sheet of labels that say "from my kitchen" to share with you all. To download the template click on the link below. The template is to be printed onto an 8.5 x 11 inch label sheet. Makes 12 labels per sheet. Enjoy!



Also, last weekend I held a giveaway for a beautiful poultry roasting dish courtesy of BigKitchen.com, and the winner of the giveaway is....


Congratulations Sara! I'll be getting in touch with you about your prize shortly. Aaaand without further adieu, here are the instructions for starting your batch of homemade vanilla extract.



*Note* You will need 1 to 3 vanilla beans for every cup of vodka, depending on the size of the bean. If you have long beans (about 7 inches) then you can just use one per cup, but if your beans are short (around 5.5 inches) use 2 or 3. Adjust your ingredient measurements according to the space in the glass jar or bottle you are using for preparation.

Ingredients:

70-80 Proof Vodka (35-40% Alcohol)
Whole Vanilla Beans (1 to 3 for every cup of vodka, depending on the size of the bean)
Glass Jar or Bottle with Tight-Fitting Cap or Lid, sterilized by boiling in hot water


The video below shows how to prepare the vanilla beans for the extraction process; it is written here as well. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a dull butter knife, scrape out the pulp inside the beans and set the pulp aside. Cut the bean skins into 1 or 2 inch long pieces.



Once all of the vanilla beans have been prepared drop the vanilla bean pulp and the vanilla bean skins into your glass jar or bottle. Fill the bottle with the vodka, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal tightly and shake vigorously for 3 minutes.

Store in cool dark place (I put mine in the back of a kitchen cupboard) and shake once a week for two months.


You can begin using the extract after it has aged for two months, and make sure to use all of the extract within a year of the date you made it.


You can leave the vanilla bean bits in the extract as the alcohol will continue to extract flavor from them as time goes on, however minutely.



And after two months of weekly shaking, my extract turned this delightful shade of brown. Smells heavenly!


24 comments:

  1. Always very inspiring to visit your blog eva! I like your styling and photography. I am entranced by the light and the materials you use. Where do you buy your beautiful cutting board?

    ~ Aina ~

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    1. Hi Aina,

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I got my wooden cutting board at this Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/people/TheFallenTimber and I just love it. It is shiny when it arrives but after some washing it fades to a nice natural wood tone like how it looks in the photographs :)

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  2. This summer I made my first batch of vanilla extract. Haven't used it yet, waiting for one more month but at times I open the bottle just to sniff and start my day in the sweetest note possible :)

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    1. Haha, yes!! That is what I have been doing too! I know I shouldn't be breaking the seal but it just smells too darn good :)

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  3. YUM! My mom makes all her own vanilla and it's all I ever use now. So much better than that stuff you buy at the grocery store! :)

    Sues

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    1. Yes! I am very excited to use it in my holiday baking this year :)

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  4. I have been wanting to try vanilla extract. It looks so simple. Great photos too. Jess

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    1. You definitely should Jess, it is surprisingly easy for how much tasty extract you get out of it!

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  5. I need to get my act together and do this myself!! (ps: lovely blog you've got here)

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  6. I made my first batch of vanilla extract about a year ago using rum instead of vodka... I will NEVER go back to store brand! So delicious.

    Question: Where did you get that bottle from?? I'm a chemist, and have taken to collecting things that look like glassware we use in lab... and I love, love love that bottle.

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    1. I've heard it is very good with rum too, I am going to try making my next batch with it, very excited to see how it comes out! I got the bottle from Sur La Table, and it is on sale now too if you want to get a couple for yourself :) http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-593574/

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  7. I've been working on some vanilla as well - using part brandy, part rum. I like the extra flavor profile and depth that the brandy gives it! I am thinking about trying the rum next :)

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    1. Ohhhhh, using brandy sounds divine! I bet that would work really well with making orange extract too! Got grand marnier on the mind haha :)

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  8. I have been "brewing" my own batches of vanilla this year for the first time - I'm using part brandy and part vodka, as I like the extra flavor profile the brandy gives. I am thinking about trying rum as well...

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  9. Replies
    1. So far so good! It tastes nice and strong, letting it brew another week before I filter it and distribute it for Christmas gifts. I'll take some picture of it next week and update this post so you can see the final product :)

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  10. I know it sounds slightly weird, but you could save whatever is left over to use as perfume. My aunt said dab a little behind each earlobe and it smells like you've been baking cookies all day:)

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  11. Hi Eva

    I thought you could age vanilla up to 6 months, so if I age mine for 6 months, I only have 6 months to use up. That's not a lot of time, I thought vanilla last longer than that. Also, how did you filter your vanilla after you made it.

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    1. Hi Jackie! From what I had read, the quality of the extract decreases after 1 year. If you want to experiment and see if it tastes the same to you after that point definitely give it a try. I actually didn't filter my extract, I just kept the small chopped up vanilla beans hanging out in the bottom of the small jars I divided it up into so that it would continue to extract flavor from the beans over time :)

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  12. How did you adhere your labels to the little amber jars? So cute, just can't figure out the best way to stick the labels on...

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  13. I love your labels. I have been looking for brown kraft paper that is in a whole label sheet, thank you for sharing that link. One question. What size bottle is that, 4oz? Can't wait to bottle mine for Christmas this year. It's almost ready! :) P.S. I to made mine with Rum, so far it smells wonderful!

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    1. Hi Charlyn! So happy to hear that, I love making it with rum now and again, too. Smells SO GOOD! The bottles are 4 ounces, but I believe they make them in 8 ounce sizes, too :)

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  14. I love the little Amber bottle. Where did you find them?

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