Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Homemade Vanilla -- a thirty five year tradition

For thirty five years I've been making my own vanilla.    It's easy to do and the flavor is far superior to any that you can purchase.

In the pantry I always have several bottles of vanilla in the making and one in use.     I prefer rum as the base although there is a vanilla making contingent that prefers vodka.     And our friends in the South, often uses bourbon.

Our ancestors, however, would have used either rum or bourbon because vodka was not widely available here until the 60's.      

I encountered the recipe in a book I happened to order all the way back in the early 70's -- Mary Mason Campbell's Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook.

The recipe is easy -- for each six ounces of alcohol (your choice of rum, vodka or bourbon), cut one vanilla bean lengthwise, then cut in pieces with scissors and drop into the alcohol.

Cover tightly (a cork is great) and keep at least six months before using.    The light rum turns dark -- like the store vanilla that we are used to.

Vanilla beans, too, can be cut into pieces and dropped in  a jar of granulated sugar.     Cover the jar for several weeks before using.    Those cute canning jars make great containers for vanilla sugar.     It's great to use as the sugar in whipped creams or frostings.

Once you taste homemade vanilla, you'll never go back.     And you'll find the vanilla sugar a great addition to your pantry.


Penny said...

What a wonderful idea. Now I just need to find some of those beautiful containers. It has given me ideas for gifts.

Comfrey Cottages said...

thanks for sharing! wonderful idea and a great gift idea also! :)

Rosemary said...

Thanks for the nudge.... I really should be doing this!

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

You have spoken to my heart! I LOVE vanilla anything. I do have to try this. I can't believe you have been making it for 35 years. Thank you so much for sharing.

Bethany said...

Thanks for posting, Martha! Where do you buy your beans? I am sure I can get some at whole foods. The only bad part about it is that I have to wait 6 months. :) Vanilla is my all time favorite flavor!

Melinda said...

Oh Martha--
You are talking to me now I am a BIG I mean BIG fan of vanilla!!!
That is the scent I use from Bath and Body.
Now homemade vannila sounds intriguing enough for me to try,
especially if there is RUM involved. Now I'm not much of a drinker but I do like Rum.
Thanks for the nifty idea!

Have a great day.


Martha said...

Actually, most grocery stores carry beans although they are a bit more expensive. Penzey's in downtown Overland Park or online is a great source -- reasonable, too.

Mary Bergfeld said...

I really like this idea. Never tried anything like this before but I'm about to remedy that.

Kathleen said...

Super idea. We have a Penzeys here in Falls Church, so I can probably find vanilla beans there.

And, you know what? I still have some of the cute little canning jars! So, I can do the vanilla sugar while I'm at it.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

I have all of the ingredients! You have given me the inspiration! Thanks!

Pondside said...

I buy vanilla when we travel to Mexico in the winter - but this sounds like a very good idea. I'll try it and let you know how I like it. I'm intrigued - and love good vanilla.

Bill said...

Hi Martha,
You always share the most interesting ideas! I'd definitely like to try this.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


*Ulrike* said...

Thanks for showing us how it is done. I have always wanted to make my own homemade vanilla, and also vanilla sugar. I'll give it a try soon!

Deanna said...

I've never thought I could make my own vanilla!
You are an inspiration,

La Table De Nana said...

I need to get fresh vanilla.. Thanks for the reminder!