Homemade vanilla extract

I recently read a post from smittenkitchen.com on how to make your own vanilla extract. I decided to give it a try, so I ventured into Ottawa's new Whole Foods Market, which was an experience. I learned that I am far too cheap ("frugal," says Simon) for Whole Foods, and that I am far too cheap to buy as many vanilla beans as the smittenkitchen.com recipe uses. Since I cheaped out, I only bought two vanilla beans, because they came in a glass vile of two for $8.00. I thought I'd try this out first before I buy any more than that. The bad news? My vanilla extract has a not-so-pleasant colour. The good news? It smells and tastes great anyway! So the moral of the story is: You can totally cheap out on this and still make it yourself.

I had both vodka and white rum in the cupboard, and since I wasn't sure how this would turn out, I decided to use white rum for my extract. That way, if it didn't taste vanilla-y enough, rum is a common enough baked goods ingredient that I figured I could get away with it. You can use either, but I was really happy with how the rum turned out.

I purchased these little jars from Dollarama. The jar must be kept in a cool, dark place. I stored it at the back of a cupboard and waited six weeks before I used it in my baking. The muffin in the photo is the Banana Oat Pumpkin Seed Butter Muffin recipe that I used it in this past weekend. I'm looking foward to using this extract in my upcoming Christmas baking!

Here's what I used:

2 vanilla beans (purchased at Whole Foods Market for $8.00)
2/3 cup white rum
1 small mason jar


Place vanilla beans in mason jar. Pour rum (or vodka) over top and seal. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks before using.

So easy!  If you try it out, let me know how it goes!
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