One of my Pantry basics includes vanilla. I must have vanilla extract in my pantry- which is why 2017 changed how I do vanilla.
Most of North America doesn’t even know about cyclone Enawo, aka the vanilla bean destroyer – but ever since it stormed across Madagascar in 2017 – I have been making my own vanilla extracts.
Madagascar makes up 80% of the worlds vanilla. During the storm Two of the largest vanilla-producing areas were hit hard. Preliminary reports said that 90% to 100% of the crop in Antalaha was destroyed and 80% of the crop in Sambava was destroyed. This has led to massive vanilla shortages globally. Driving prices per kilo well over the cost of silver.
Oh just buy artificial if you don’t want to pay premiums & stop fussing…. I refuse to do artificial vanilla – even though it is cheaper and still can be found in stores – BECAUSE it is made of chemically treated vanillin … NOT actual beans at all. To sum it up, your imitation vanilla is likely either synthesized from wood pulp or distilled from wood-tar creosote into brown liquid that just happens to taste like vanilla. YUP a it’s true ! Came about during a pervious shortage and how to stay in business with no beans. Wood tar cookies? – no thanks.
True extracts have been around since biblical times. They use alcohol and time to draw flavours out of the plants you add to them. In this case vanilla, but also mint, orange, lemon etc. Most case an average of 6-12 mos. to fully develop flavours.
I have run into people who refuse to do their own- screaming- the alcohol- if your buying real vanilla extract from a shop you already have alcohol in your vanilla – sorry, it’s just a fact. But no worries about the alcohol, it evaporates as it gets baked off in the oven. Leaving behind only vanilla bean goodness.
So skip the middle man and make your own. Lockdowns may come rolling back this winter but you will be hunkered down safe in your cozy hole, warm by the fire with big steaming vanilla latte and shortbread….. or whatever you fancy.
- 5 Vanilla pods – I bought these beans
- 1 cup vodka (regular unflavoured)
- 8oz Bottle with tight lid or small mason jar. Find here
Slice beans Down center and cut to fit into a jar, add vodka. They should be Fully submerged in the vodka. Place tight fitting lid and label with date. Store at room temp away from sunlight. Shake once a week or so. Ready to use in 6-12 mos. (Best at 12 mos or later.)