For several days I contemplated the problem, until it occurred to me that I have about 90 vanilla beans in my pantry. The deal offered by Vanilla Saffron Imports was just a bit too good to pass up. And while I like to use fresh vanilla beans when I can, the sheer number is more than I will get to before they start to lose their flavor. I cleverly decided to make my own extract.
A bit of investigating the process of making vanilla extract will reveal that a distilled alcohol of at least 80 proof, some beans, and time are all you need. I pondered (out loud) whether vodka or rum would be a better choice. Vodka has nearly no flavor of its own, while rum would impart a little sweetness and depth of flavor. My husband, being a helpful sort, offered to go out and retrieve that necessary item. Since he's a bit of a gourmand himself, I bravely left the choice to him.
We've been married for over 10 years now. And I still forget to be specific. My darling returned with - wait for it....... - a bottle of Canadian whiskey.
Hmmmmm. While the distillation process destroys any protein and therefore renders even a rye or wheat based product assumably gluten free... it wasn't quite what I had in mind.
It actually worked out fairly well. I sliced a dozen vanilla beans in half, and placed them into a glass pint jar. Then I filled the jar with whiskey and set it in my cupboard. Six weeks later (shaking and inverting once weekly), I had a passable, though somewhat harsh vanilla extract. Since I was using whiskey, rather than rum, I wanted to round out the flavor. One Tbsp of corn syrup later, and we're there!
We'll put it to use soon. (And we'll talk about the book - my very first vintage cookbook!)