Ok, enough cheeziness, on to the serious topic of Vanilla Extract. After a discussion with some acquaintances about which type of vanilla bean is best for making Vanilla Extract, I decided to order a variety pack of beans from the online company Beanilla.com. I received my Vanilla Bean Sampler and the following bean types were included: Bourbon, Indian, Mexican, Mexican Organic, Madagascar, Tahitian and Tongan.
I split each bean lengthwise, bottled them in sets of 3 pods per bottle, then covered them with Vodka. The typical bean-to-vanilla ratio is 1 Cup of Alcohol for every 3 Vanilla Beans. Sometimes I'll add a fourth bean, but 3 beans seems to make a nicely darkened Vanilla Extract. Due to this experiment, in about 3 months I will have 7 different types of extract and hopefully I'll be able to figure out which bean I like best for baking and cooking!
Here is a bit of additional information for those looking to make their own Vanilla Extract- you can try different types of alcohol: Brandy, Rum or Vodka. Others I have spoken with about making their own extract indicated that they will add 2 tablespoons of Dark Rum to their Vodka or Brandy-based extract for a richer flavor and a darker color.
Additionally, once you have used your extract, you can refill with vodka up to three times- the Vanilla Bean Pods will continue to produce a vanilla flavor- each time the vanilla must be placed in a dark area (being shaken up every couple of weeks), for 2-3 months to infuse. Once the beans are no longer good for Vanilla extract, you can dry them off and put them in a container of sugar to make Vanilla Sugar (which can be used for any baking recipe that requires sugar and it infuses a nice vanilla flavor into the recipe!).
ETA: I was asked where I got my cute vanilla bottles so I wanted to share that with you all! SKS Bottle & Packaging was the least expensive online retailer for similar bottles. They are of high quality, and their customer service was exceptional. They have a large variety of bottles (including Amber and Blue glass bottles which I'll probably try next time- but I wanted to see the color changes which is why I ordered the clear bottles).
This post has been Continued HERE... (after 3 months of brewing)