Saturday, June 2, 2012


I have to tell y'all that I. Am. EXHAUSTED. My goodness.

Yes. My project yesterday was so taxing that I simply don't know how I will ever recover. If at all. Sigh. But now that it's all over, I will force myself to rest extensively.... somehow....because the herculean effort was worth the result.

.::theatrical brow mopping::.

Ah, the things that I have to endure to ensure that my family has decent frosting. And cookies. And cupcakes. And brownies. And.....wait, let me wipe the drool off my keyboard....

Blink. OK. I'm back.

My arduous task yesterday was something that I undertake once every two years or so, and it's a pretty important thing; I make my own vanilla extract. Yes, yes I do. Oooo! Aaahhhh!  Want to make your very own gigantic bottle of yummy vanilla?

The process goes like this:

Send your husband out to find a bottle of cheap vodka and four whole vanilla beans. Wait impatiently for him to return while playing a bazillion games of Bejeweled Blitz on facebook.

Now pay attention here, people. This is the difficult part. Be sure to streeeettttcchhh your muscles before attempting to proceed. You don't want to strain anything.


OK. Are you ready for this? You must OPEN ALL THREE BOTTLES.

Yes. You must. I know, I know....modern manufacturing packing is ridiculously hard to maneuver, which is why stretching those bottle-opening muscles is vitally important to avoid injury. Safety first here, people.

Next, take careful aim and drop all four beans into the open vodka bottle. And no, it's not necessary to pour out ANY of the VODKA into a GLASS before adding the vanilla beans. Especially if the GLASS already has ice cubes and orange juice in it. Focus on the task at hand here, people! Honestly.

Another limber-up session may be necessary before the final step, so take time to bend and stretch those leg and back muscles. This is serious business. You, too, can prevent vanilla-related injuries.


Securely replace the cap on the vodka bottle. Spend at least five minutes rummaging around in the junk drawer directly under the vodka bottle and grab a felt marker. Avoid being sidetracked into dumping the entire contents of the drawer on the floor in frustration at the enormous amount of JUNK in said drawer. Dab blood with paper towel (located on the other side of the vodka bottle) after ramming a very sharp pencil lead under your index fingernail.

Breathe. Just breathe. In through the nose, out through the mouth.....ahhhh......better?

Use the blood-smeared felt tipped marker to write the current date on the label of the vodka bottle. Resist the impulse to uncap the bottle and take a swig to see if it's vanilla yet. Because, no, it isn't. Not for at least another six months to a year. Which is why the final step is to BEND OVER and slide the bottle onto the cereal shelf in the pantry behind the current bottle of vanilla extract.

It's a good idea to plan these types of difficult tasks far in advance. You wouldn't go out and run a marathon without practicing, would you? Of course not. So be sure to spend time in serious training before attempting this on your own.

Whew. The stress.....the exertion....I may need to go lie down.


Gill said...

This is seriously interesting, the last time I bought vanilla extract it was something over £6 for the good stuff, might have a go at this one. Thanks

sue said...

That is all there is to making your own vanilla extract?

Julia Oleinik said...

Yep. Soaking vanilla beans in alcohol extracts their oils and yummy flavors.

Ina Garten, over on the Food Network, puts TWELVE vanilla beans in a bottle of vodka, but then she only waits one month before using. I'm too cheap to fork out all the money for twelve vanilla beans, so I do it this way and just wait longer to use it. I've been making my own vanilla for about the last thirty years this way and it's worked so far......

ShEiLa said...


This post reminded me of an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown.

and I loved it!!!


Anita Rowe Stafford said...

Wish you had videoed this, would have made a great how-to YouTube video! I've never made my own vanilla, but will have to try it now. Wonder if it will work if I leave out the blood part?