Beans. They’re good for your heart… or so the old song says. But I suppose that doesn’t really apply here, since I’m going to be talking about vanilla beans. But I’ll admit, the song keeps cropping up in my head, whenever I thought about writing this post.
For some time, my parents have been talking about making their own vanilla, doing their research, and discussing it with some relatives, who made their own. I think there are plenty of online explanations of how to go about it.
Actually, we started one bottle, back in 1998, and it’s been in our cupboard ever since, though only used for the first time, recently. A very pale color, with an almost floral smell, they wanted to have another go, and see if they could do better this time. Without taking 15 years to do it.
After doing some research, they bought 1 pound of Grade B vanilla beans, online, because the Grade B ones are supposed to be drier, and have more flavor in them. One bottle of rum and one bottle of vodka were bought, and each had a small amount poured out, in order to make room for the beans.
When I came upon the scene, my mom was taking each bean, cutting it down the middle, and scraping out the “caviar” that’s inside of it. Using her knife, she would take all that vanilla goodness and scrape it off on the lip of the bottle, where it would eventually fall inside. Then, she would take the long pieces and cut them up, adding them to the mixture, as well.
Starting off with twenty-five beans per bottle, the containers weren’t remotely full when they had finished that round, and there were still many more beans to go. So, they did another twenty-five each, and filled them to the brim. Now, they’re supposed to sit for… was it six weeks? I’ll have to ask. You just give them a good shake, once in a while.
After finishing the rum and vodka varieties, they took out the old bottle (I think that one was made with vodka, also), and added another 10 beans to it. Then, all three bottles went into our large cereal cupboard, making it smell overwhelmingly of delicious vanilla.