How to Make Vanilla Extract

Why make your own vanilla extract? Well let's see. It's easy to make. You'll never run out of vanilla again. It might even be economical, given that you'll never run out of it. It's fun to watch the extract change colors? I don't know. Sometimes we just make things for the heck of it. In this case, Garrett gave me a dozen or so vanilla beans, sharing what he had been given by this generous company. Vanilla beans are produced in several countries, and Garrett has a good write-up on his site regarding the differences between the varieties - Madagascar, Bourbon, Tonga, Mexico, Tahiti, etc. Did you know that each vanilla bean comes from an orchid that has been pollinated by hand? Once the vanilla seed pod has developed, it must be hand picked as well. After picking the curing process takes several months. So if you've ever wondered why vanilla extract, and especially vanilla beans, can be so expensive, this is why.