View Full Version : Vanilla extract
06-08-2008, 10:25 AM
Has anyone ever made vanilla extract? I'm using the vanilla bean seeds today for the first time and thought that there must be some use for the pod. Is there a non-alcohol version, as well as an alcohol version, of extract that we can make?
06-08-2008, 12:17 PM
I do know that some vanilla extracts are preserved in a vegetable glycerine rather than alcohol. However, I do not know if that is raw. Also I'm no help to tell you as to how to extract it.
Another option would be to make it into a powder. Funny, because I was just checking into vanilla powder the other day and found this information on another forum. So I looked it up again. Maybe this will help and maybe not. Here it is just in case:
By the way, you might want to read useful information from Rhio regarding vanilla beans/powder.
The VANILLA BEAN is the fruit of certain varieties of tropical orchids. It originated in Mexico, but today is also cultivated in such exotic places as Tahiti, Madagascar and Bali. Vanilla is truly an intoxicating smell and taste experience.
VANILLA POWDER, as called for in some of the recipes, is simply ground vanilla bean: Cut 3 vanilla beans into small pieces, put them into a nut (or coffee) grinder, and grind as fine as possible. Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, and use as needed. It keeps for months. If it develops an off smell, then discard; but I've never had this happen. The alternative to making the vanilla powder would be to just cut a small piece of vanilla from the pod. Cut into small pieces and blend into the recipe. Depending on the quality of your equipment, it may or may not break down completely, and get blended.
If your vanilla bean is too moist and doesn't powder up in the nut mill, then leave the vanilla bean out at room temperature for a couple of days so that it dries a bit. Under no circumstances put the vanilla bean in a food dehydrator, because it will lose all its flavor. You could even grind up this moist vanilla bean, but it will come out like the texture of ground tobacco, instead of as a powder. This has just as much flavor and works just as well in the recipes. Store in the refrigerator.
VANILLA WATER: Cut 2 vanilla beans into pieces, grind in a nut grinder, then put the powder into the blender with 1/2 cup of filtered water and blend well. This will keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks; after that, it will ferment. You can also freeze the vanilla water in ice cube trays and pop out a cube as needed. Frozen, it keeps much longer.
Both of the above can be used as substitutes for commercial vanilla extract which, besides containing alcohol, may be extracted with solvents. Solvents have no place in a healthy diet. Commercial vanilla extract may also contain other additives.
(I think this is why you never see vanilla sold in a powder form like other spices. Actually, I have seen vanilla powder sold in some specialty stores, but then it is loaded with additives and I doubt it is a natural vanilla at all.)
06-08-2008, 05:40 PM
Yes, I have made my own since before raw last year and I made so much of it that I still have about a quart:-)
I bought a bunch of beans during the Christmas season at Costco which were even cheaper than getting them in bulk online. Then I used Absolut vanilla vodka to extract. Split the beans lengthwise and scrape into the bottle, then add the beans. Wait at least 6 weeks, turning the bottle a couple times. You can find the exact number of beans per liter to use online at vanila websites.
Not exactly a health food, but it greatly enhances the treats and "milks" I make for my kids and you only need a drop. I also occasionally make standard organic baked treats for when we have other families and many children over.
06-22-2008, 11:29 AM
Rinda and Clare, thank you for your responses. (I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to my computer.) I'm going to try some of your ideas, as I love the flavor of vanilla.
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