I’ve been meaning to make my own vanilla for ages, but I keep forgetting. My husband (the baker in the family) sees that we’re low and picks up a big bottle at Costco, perpetuating a vicious vanilla cycle. Every bottle we get from the store is one more piece of plastic that we have to figure out what to do with, so making my own in a reusable glass bottle makes sense from a waste perspective. But here in Hawaii, it makes sense from a locavore perspective, too: we have a vanilla farm right down the road. How ridiculous to buy imported vanilla in plastic! Even if you don’t have access to locally grown vanilla, it makes sense to make it yourself simply because it eliminates waste and a single batch of homemade vanilla can last indefinitely, since you can keep topping off the jar as you use the vanilla.
Inspired to try?
Split two vanilla beans down the center with a knife or scissors and slip the beans into a recycled glass jar (one that holds roughly 2 cups of liquid) or a pint-sized canning jar. Fill the jar with vodka and allow it to sit for three to four weeks before using your homemade vanilla in recipes. Leave the vanilla bean in the jar and when your supply starts to get low, add more vodka. (Eventually, you may need to start fresh when the vanilla beans start to lose their oomph.)