The two winners of the Family Camping Handbook are… Kristi and Kelli. Congratulations! I’ll email you both so you can connect with Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship, the handbook author.
One of the best and most simple things I’ve ever done is make my own vanilla extract. And bourbon vanilla, at that. I used to buy it at Trader Joe’s and really liked what it did for our ice cream, so that’s the kind I wanted to make.
Using homemade vanilla extract, our raw Jersey ice cream (and many other dishes) are out of this world. Like 500 times better. Perhaps that is an exaggeration. But the point is, homemade vanilla offers much more flavor. Here’s an example of what it can do.
I had some frozen Jersey cream (a bit freezer burned), back in May, I think. I made ice cream, using vanilla extract from Trader Joe’s. Nobody liked it, no doubt because of the freezer burn.
What’s wrong with the ice cream, Mom?
I had more frozen cream (a bit freezer burned). I made ice cream in late July, using my bourbon vanilla extract. The ice cream was amazing.
Mom, what did you do to the ice cream? Its soooooo good. Did you get fresh cream?
See what I mean? The awesome, homemade bourbon vanilla was so good, it masked mild freezer burn.
Here’s how to make it. It couldn’t be simpler. I used this recipe to guide me in making up 1/2 gallon.
Homemade Bourbon Vanilla Extract
- 32 vanilla beans (mine come from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- 1/2 gallon of bourbon
Split the vanilla beans in half, lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and beans in a clean half gallon jar and pour in the 1/2 gallon of bourbon. Cover the jar, then shake it gently. Put the jar in a dark cupboard. Shake it up every few days.
Start using it after a few weeks, though after 8 weeks it will be good and dark. Perfect. Use anywhere you would use normal vanilla extract. Below, I’m adding it to sourdough chocolate cake, in this week’s new video for the “pay what you can” Sourdough eCourse. Mmm.. See how dark it is? That vanilla is about 9 weeks old.
Continue adding vanilla beans and bourbon for an endless supply of vanilla — four vanilla beans for every cup of bourbon. This would make wonderful gifts, wouldn’t it — small, pretty glass jars for all your lovely people?