Friday, August 20, 2010

DIY Vanilla Extract

In all honesty, I had never seriously considered making my own vanilla extract. I couldn't seem to reconcile the time and expense required in homebrew with the opposing ease and convenience of buying it from the grocery store.

But I wanted -- nay, needed -- anise extract. And I couldn't find it in my local grocery stores. 
And I had just bought a whole bag of star anise on the cheap

So I started searching for DIY anise extract recipes. And I found one or two, but I also found the goldmine: the Make Vanilla Extract tutorial on It is so popular that the site branched off from its own Instructable! And it's even getting shout-outs in the press! 

This is easily the most comprehensive, detailed, and informative tutorial on making vanilla extract. Anywhere. And it seems pretty straightforward to me. There are tons of pictures, so all you visual learners can breathe easy. Unlike so much of anything on the internet, the site actually pulls from a really solid body of research to provide its background information. Yes, that includes literature reviews. Yes, there are even literature reviews on vanilla. No, you can't just quit your soul-crushing research job to go study vanilla all day. 

What is the most impressive, though, is that Ian is a serious sommelier! Check out his pages for salt, cinnamon, and paprika, in addition to all things vanilla. 

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