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Vanilla Extract

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Recipe Information

Category: Substitutes
Recipe Created By: KFA F&C Volunteers

Vanilla Extract

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750 ml bottle rum or vodka
2 vanilla beans


Open the bottle of vodka or rum. Then, working one at a time, using the tip of a sharp paring knife, slice the vanilla beans lengthwise. If desired, scrape the seeds out of the pods. Scraping the seeds will leave little black bits in your vanilla, but it provides better flavor. For clearer vanilla, don't scrape the seeds. Put both seeds and pods into the vodka or rum. Replace the cover on the bottle. The vanilla will be ready in about 3-4 wks.

OPTIONAL: Take a large pot and fill it with hot tap water. Do not put it on the stove, instead place the vodka or rum bottle in the water, making sure that the bottle is stable and will not fall over (you might need to adjust the water level). Leave the bottle for about an hour.

Remove the bottle from the water. The vanilla will be ready to use in a week or two.



If you are avoiding corn, wheat or gluten, you should look for a vodka that is potato-based. The majority of your better vodkas that are sold in the US are grain-based and usually corn. Rum is made form sugar cane and is generally safest of all. Use light rum and not an aged, dark rum.

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We made our own GF vanilla a year 1/2 ago. We found that besides the potato based alcohol for a base, you can also get FRUIT based. Specifically, I recall grapes being one of them. Check for vodka from grapes, from wineries. I know there are some in Michigan.
You can also get vanilla beans that are natural ,or certified organic. An extra bonus is different flavors vanilla beans come in. Tahitian beans are rich and tend to chocolate.
If you allow it to rest, you won' t be sorry. The flavor of your own fresh vanilla is wonderful!!!! And deeper than regular stor bought extract.

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