How to Make Vanilla Extract

You can easily make your own vanilla extract. All it takes is a few key ingredients and a long wait. Patience has its rewards though, and in this case, you'll be able to make more flavorful and delicious cakes, cookies and other desserts with the addition of it.

It all starts with the vanilla pod or bean. Choose vanilla pods that have a deep dark brown color. They should also be pliable enough that you can wrap it around your finger, without it breaking.

To start making the extract, first, split a clean vanilla bean lengthwise with the use of a sharp knife. Place it in a sterilized jar. Then, pour 3/4 cup of vodka or brandy. Move the bean around just to make sure that it is fully submerged in the alcohol. Seal it tightly and set it aside, preferably in a cool, dark area. Allow it to sit for four to six months, shaking the jar every once in a while throughout the time duration.

Vanilla extract has a lot of uses. It can be added to both savory and sweet dishes. There are many recipes that make use of it, including vanilla cupcakes, the Italian classic Tiramisu, meringue pies, and even hot drinks. When it comes to savory dishes, vanilla extract is typically added for food such as stews, like in beef stews or side dishes such as stewed apples.

Pure vanilla extract has a shelf life of around four to five years, given that it is tightly sealed and properly stored at room temperature.

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