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Vanilla Extract

Vanilla beans are one of the world's most labor-intensive and expensive crops. Grown in Madagascar, Indonesia, Mexico, and Tahiti, vanilla is actually the fruit of an orchid that blossoms for only a few hours each year and must be hand-harvested. When buying vanilla beans, make sure to look for moist, shiny, brownish-black beans.
The Martha Stewart Show, January January Winter 2007 2007

Whole vanilla beans have a much more complex, deeper vanilla flavor than extract and work very well in custard or a rice pudding. The beans can be used twice; after the last use, place them in a jar of sugar for a mild and delicious vanilla sugar.

Vanilla extract, which is a staple for your cupboard, is used in many recipes for baked goods. When purchasing vanilla extract, the most important thing to remember is to make sure the label says "pure," not "imitation."

Vanilla Extract How-To

Vanilla extract is also easy to make. It's a very simple project and makes a great gift. To make vanilla extract, deposit two split vanilla beans in a glass bottle or jar. Add a cup of unflavored vodka. Cap and store in a dark, cool place. Shake the bottle gently every couple weeks. After about two months, you'll have your very own homemade vanilla extract.

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Comments (6)

  • smellor 8 Nov, 2012

    Do you need to add any sugar to the vodka & bean?

  • bbevvy 17 Nov, 2010

    What type of vanilla beans would Martha use and is there an online source that you would recommend?

  • LoveThoseVanillaBeans 11 Mar, 2010

    Beanilla Trading Company also has very high-quality vanilla extract. They also carry 8 different types of vanilla beans so that you can make your own. A store near me carries their products, but they can also be bought online at www.beanilla.com.

  • jessypr 10 Dec, 2009

    She use Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract.

  • JMENY 12 Feb, 2009

    What kind of vanilla extract does Martha use on her show? She always says it's the best and I can never see the bottle lable.

  • maximum 2 Sep, 2008

    Thank-you.