I never realised that Vanilla Extract was a simple herbal tincture/extract until I visited this site a couple of years ago. How to make real vanilla extract in time for the holidays | Chef and Steward.
Here’s the instructions for Real Vanilla Extract
- 3 to 6 Vanilla beans
- About 1 cup Alcohol (like vodka or brandy but you may substitute this with Rum as they do at Chef and Steward, but I think the taste is too strong),
- A sterilized airtight jar (about 500ml size)
Split the Vanilla bean lengthwise down the centre with a sharp knife leaving about 1cm still joined.
Pour the alcohol into the jar and add the split vanilla beans, making sure to fully immerse them and then seal the jar tightly.
Grab a label or a piece of sticky tape and label the jar (include the date of production).
(And don’t think you will remember the day you did this because you won’t)
Place the jar in a dark place for about two months, shaking the bottle several times a week. (Be sure to shake it at least once per week)
The extract will probably smell like vanilla within a few days and you can use it in two weeks if you really need too.
You don’t need to remove the vanilla beans and if you like you can make a vanilla paste by placing the vanilla beans in a blender with a little of the infused alcohol until the paste is a consistency you like