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Homemade Vanilla Extract

homemade vanilla extractI had been meaning to stop by the historic farmers’ market. I told my husband that I wanted to go there for a specific reason but when I arrived that reason escaped me until I spotted a table across the way decked out in spices.

Yes! Now it’s coming back to me. Costas Halavrezos, former host of Maritime Noon, sells spices at the market and recently unveiled his book, Seasoned. I wanted to drop by to say hello as Costas interviewed me years ago when I was living in Hong Kong. I also wanted to grab a copy of his new book.  I introduced myself and immediately the connection was made.  This time the tables were turned as I was asking him questions about his spice venture and how he started.  Costas has a nurturing demeanor and I can’t imagine anyone not getting the spice bug once you speak to him.  He’s so passionate about the spices he sells and it’s not a hard sell either.  I always feel elevated when I speak to another enthusiastic person especially when it comes to food.

vanilla beans by The Culinary Chase2 to 3 Madagascar vanilla beans (pods)
1 cup vodka (you can also try rum or bourbon)

You can find vanilla beans in most grocery stores or from your favorite spice shop. Look for dark, supple, oily beans. Make sure the jar you use is super clean…you don’t want other flavors latching on. Using a sharp knife, score half-inch from the top to half-inch from the bottom of the vanilla bean but do not cut through. Place scored beans into a jar and top with vodka making sure beans are submersed. Place in a cool, dark place for one month, shaking it once a week. When you use it, just remember to top it off with more vodka.

vanilla collage by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: The extract can be stored for up to one year but replace the vanilla beans 3 to 6 months as they tend to lose their flavor. Don’t discard the old beans. Use them to flavor sugar.  As the holidays are just around the corner, wrap this up and give it to your baking buddies. Enjoy!

The post Homemade Vanilla Extract appeared first on The Culinary Chase.

About Heather Chase

The Culinary Chase was coined by my husband whilst in a coffee shop in Hong Kong back in 2006. We wanted something that would be a play on my last name and by the time we finished our coffee, the name was born. As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed cooking. It wasn’t until we moved to Asia that I began to experiment using herbs and spices in my everyday cooking. Not only do they enhance the flavor of food but also heighten it nutritionally. Over the years, I began to change our diet to include more vegetables, pulses, whole grains and less red meat. Don’t get me wrong, we love our meat, just not in super-size portions (too hard for the body to digest). I always use the palm of my hand as a guide to portion control when eating red meat. If the meat is larger than my hand, I save that portion for another day. Also, if the veggies on your plate look colorful (think the colors of the rainbow) – red, green, yellow, orange etc. then you’re most likely getting the right amount of nutrients per meal. I post recipes that I think help maintain a healthy body. I use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I make a conscious effort to eat healthy and 20% for when I want french fries with gravy (poutine). Balance is the key and to enjoy life with whatever comes my way. Thanks for visiting!

 

The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

http://theculinarychase.com/

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