March 2, 2009

The making of homemade vanilla extract

I read that you can make homemade vanilla extract pretty easily. Since that's right up my alley, I began to read up on it. All vanilla extract really is, is vanilla beans extracted into a clean spirit (rum or vodka). Some recipes add a bit of sugar to intensify the flavors. (I'm not sure if I'll be doing that, but don't have to decide until the end anyhow.) So being our house, we are doing a little experiment. Vanilla extract you buy in the store is 35% alcohol, or 70 proof. It's at that percentage so a boozehound doesn't use it as his source of pleasure. I think it's also so it doesn't have to be regulated as booze. Anyhow, we are trying ours at about that (cloudy one on the left), and then one that's double that which we'll later dilute (clean looking one on the right). Beerman helped provide the base "rum" for me.

I'm 2 months into the fun, and everything I've read says to let it sit (gently shaken a few times a week) for at least 3 months.

So what we're trying to figure out is whether the higher alcohol-clean looking one will cloud up once we dilute it. And if the cloudy one has a more desirable taste because it didn't dissolve all the stuff up like the high alcohol content one all along, or if the higher alcohol one tastes cleaner too even when diluted because it did dissolve all the goodness into it.

I know you're jealous of our science-geekiness. Too bad C-man won't be able to use these experiments for school science projects.

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