There are times when great ideas fall by the wayside because we run out of time, out of steam, or out of ingredients. On a night where a surprisingly rotten batch of vegetables found in my fridge foiled not one, but *two* recipes I’d had planned on making, I nearly threw in the towel.
And then, whilst desperately searching for a meaningful way to use the time I’d meant to spend creating, I remembered a forgotten project from two months ago. Thank goodness vodka doesn’t go bad!
Well, unless you try REALLY, REALLY hard…
…nah. Not sure it’s possible.
Anyway, so when life handed me spoiled spinach… I reached for the booze? 😅
Previously, I had made a vodka-based liqueur with fresh fruit and warm autumn spices. In fact, I’m still waiting for a suitable snow day to bring it back out again, darn this warm weather.
This time, however, I aimed for recreating a common baking staple: the humble vanilla extract.
With only two ingredients — vodka and vanilla beans — stuffed into a small sealable jar, combined with several weeks’ worth of waiting, assembly took less than five minutes overall. Ridiculously easy.
When I had initially planned to do this in September, I had no idea how to source the vanilla beans. Well, turns out all I had to do was stop by the farmer’s market (as is often the solution to many a kitchen woe).
Origin Vanilla, local to Colorado with a mission to support “smallholder farmers,” sells both beans and pre-made extracts primarily via their online store. After sampling their extracts and perusing the various types of beans, I settled on a small pack of the Masagascar variety.
Fast-forward to tonight, and my process pretty closely followed that of Pioneer Woman’s recipe. As I had just enough leftover Sobieski vodka from making liqueur, I added that to all five of the vanilla beans, which were cut in half and then into thirds to fit my small one-cup jar.
One hiccup: the recipe calls for six beans, so I’ll taste it at two months and see if it needs longer to pull flavor. I’m estimating an extra two or three weeks to compensate, but we’ll see!
Marking the calendar for February 2 to taste, after which I’ll post an update.
A question I now pass to you, readers: can I still do something with the beans after I finish the extract? Or will they have lost all of their lovely flavors by that point?
Do drop a comment if you have any experience or ideas, as I’d enjoy trying something else with this lovely ingredient and making them last a bit longer.
Local to Colorado? Guess what — there are a few Winter Markets coming up in the next couple of weeks, so if you’re looking to buy local, now’s your chance! I’ll definitely haunt them myself, particularly for gifts, specialty food items, and ingredients for winter baking.
Have a great weekend!