In 2016 the price of real vanilla CO2 extract sky-rocketed into another dimension.
The following year, it was unavailable to purchase, at any price, and has remained so up to this point. Vanilla supplies worldwide just can not keep up with demand for this rare plant.
I love the flavor of vanilla, and did not want to use synthetic vanilla flavoring. It is made from everything from Coumadin (a blood thinner that can cause liver and kidney failure), to wood chips, to secretion from the anal sacs of beavers!
And most real vanilla extract is 40% or more alcohol, which is another thing I did not want to use. So I began to experiment with making my own extract, with simply vanilla pods (which are still available on the market at a fairly reasonable cost), salt, and water.
Eventually I settled on this recipe. I love it, Michael loves the flavor in his yogurt, and now I believe I really can live without the CO2 total extract the we used to carry! (I do promise to keep on looking for the CO2 extract, and to carry it again if I ever do find a small producer who can sell it to us).
ALCOHOL FREE VANILLA EXTRACT
8 to 10 Vanilla Bean Pods
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Filtered Water
1. Cut the vanilla beans so they can fit inside the bottle you are using. I find that 1 quart mason jars work exceptionally well for this purpose. Slice the beans lengthwise, just enough so that you pierce through one side. The intention is to expose the tiny vanilla seeds but keep them attached to the bean.
2. Place the sliced vanilla beans inside the bottle, add the salt and completely cover with filtered water. Place the lid onto the bottle and shake vigorously.
3. Place the bottle in the fridge and shake once a day for 4 weeks.
4. For the next 5 weeks you can shake it less often, like 2 to 3 times a week. The vanilla will be ready to use after 9 weeks (although waiting longer is even better). You can strain out the vanilla pods, or leave them in the extract until it is used up. Shake well before using.
Once the vanilla is done steeping, the vanilla extract will keep in the fridge for 3 months.
Now that you have made your vanilla extract, let us know how you like to use it!
Michael adds 1 teaspoon to a bowl of home made yogurt, with a few ground almonds and raisins.
I like to add 2 teaspoons into a coconut milk drink with our own home grown powdered stevia leaf.
It is also great in muesli or oatmeal, and in freshly juiced orange juice.
Please let us know how you are using it at your house!