Today I was due to make some more vanilla extract, so I thought I would share the process with those that are unfamiliar with it. I've made vanilla extract in the past, but I needed to make a new batch that matched up with our GAPS diet.
I began making our vanilla extract back when we took corn syrup out of our diet. The vanilla extract that I had been using contained corn syrup so, instead of searching for one that was pure, I decided to just make my own. It's really a simple process that takes very little time. The lengthy part is waiting for it to be ready to use.
I started off by purchasing a 750 mL bottle of vodka and 1 oz. vanilla beans. I'm not particular about the type of vodka I purchase, but I do like to get good vanilla beans. I purchased my beans through Mountain Rose Herbs.
I opened the vodka and poured out a bit of the liquid so I would have plenty of room for the beans.
Then, using kithcen scissors, I took each of the vanilla beans and cut them in half down the length of the bean. I left about an inch or so intact at the top of the bean. Then I placed each bean in the bottle of alcohol.
After all the beans were placed in the bottle, I poured in some of the liquid that I had previously removed. Of course, not all of it would fit, but most of it did. Then I placed a label on the bottle showing the date that I started the extract and the date I expected it to be ready for use.
I like to let my extract sit for two months before using it. I just sit it up in a cabinet and give it a little shake every so often when I open up the cabinet and see it sitting there.
Here is the newly made vodka-based vanilla extract next to a rum-based vanilla extract that I made back in August. (Rum isn't allowed on GAPS..that's why I needed to make a vodka version.) The extract will take on a dark color over time, so eventually my vodka-based extract will look like what the rum-based one does now.
Anyhow, that's all it takes. It's really easy to make your own vanilla extract and then you don't have to worry about any hidden "badness" in there.