I always make my own Vanilla extract. It's much tastier and when I make in bulk, I give away the extra as Christmas gifts in bottles I get at the Dollar store. Just go to the liquor store and buy a fifth of Everclear. Buy 3 vanilla beans, split them down the middle and open a bit and drop them in the bottle. Keep in a cool dry place. I keep mine in our cold room. Shake the bottle every week.
It usually takes about 3 months for the color and flavor to develop, so make well in advance if you plan on giving as a gift. This makes a very concentrated Vanilla so you only have to use half the amount called for in any recipe. The fragrance is much stronger and smells so good.
Source: I have to give credit to my sis, Pat. She told me how to make it a few years ago and I have been doing it ever since.
By Ragteller from Tofield, Alberta Canada
Editor's Note: Everclear is not available in many parts of the U.S. due to it's high alcohol content. Try substituting a high proof clear alcohol such as 100 proof vodka or ask at your local liquor store.
If you want to buy good quality vanilla beans. I found a website www.beanilla.com they have the quality Mexican beans, as well as other types. I prefer the Mexican bean over the others. (05/12/2008)
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