I have a very exciting announcement. Rachel’s first homemade vanilla has been made. I’m not the most crafty, projecty person in the world but I’ve always loved to cook and bake. Last winter we had a visitor at our rental properties from Siberia, Russia (with the main contact being the predictable name of Sergei). They were very cheerful guys and in return for collecting a few packages for them before their trip they had presents for me direct from their ‘hometown’. It was very nice of them but I was a bit befuddled when they gave me a bottle of vodka and 3 Russian chocolate bars (which I didn’t care for).
What should a Mormon girl do with a bottle of vodka? Then a friend suggested the idea of making my own vanilla. This can also be done with bourbon but vodka works. I was able to find a great deal on vanilla beans from the Arizona Vanilla Company. They sell 12 vanilla beans for $10.95 which is a terrific bargain. You can also buy their beans through Amazon.
Once you get the beans you simply put them in a jar with the vodka, completely covering the beans (I cut the beans in half to make it work). I then let the beans and vodka marinate for at least 3 months. I have now taken the beans out and transferred the vanilla liquid into a smaller bottle, ready to use in baking and other purposes. I can’t wait to make homemade vanilla ice cream with my own vanilla! (I’d like to make some with agave and maybe almond milk. Yum!). I also have the vanilla beans that I can use to add vanilla bean pulp to the homemade ice cream. Breyers will be jealous!
If any of you have healthy ice cream/sorbet recipes I’d love to try them out. I got a brand new ice cream maker for Christmas and I’m very excited to try it out. I generally stay away from sugar/honey and gravitate towards agave/stevia and fresh fruit for sweetness. I am also excited to use alternative milks like almond and coconut.
I look forward to making more homemade vanilla but that requires going to the State Liquor Store (part of a strange rule in Utah). This might sound stupid but I have such a recognizable car and if someone were to see me at the state liquor store…Anyway, I have enough vanilla to last a long time!