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Feb 15, 2011 02:00 AM

which alcohl is more preferred between rum and vodka for making pure vanilla bean extract ??

which alcohl is more preferred between rum and vodka for making pure vanilla bean extract ???
and can anyone suggest some authentic recipe of that PVBE?

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  1. and as soon as vanilla beans get into a bottle of vodka or rum as a fresh start, should i put them in refrigerater, which is cool or cold, just in case that weather at that time is getting warmer and warmer ?
    and how many vanilla beans, cut in lengthwise, should i put in into about a cup of the rum or vodka?
    some say about 6 beans or so while others say about 3.5 or so per a cup..

    5 Replies
    1. re: hae young

      I have to assume you mean white rum, because dark rum is so strongly flavored that you would barely taste the vanilla. But even white rum is too strongly flavored.

      Google results:

      Many more results; most suggest vodka.

      1. re: hae young

        I think bourbon is also used. Not sure about rum.

        1. re: Berheenia

          I think I've heard of using rum. If you want to know how vodka works, I can tell you in two weeks :-). I used the method from that cool Chow tips video on getting the most out of vanilla beans. I don't think the proportions are very important-- it will just be stronger or weaker.

          1. re: Berheenia

            hey! i found this site.


            this site's writer seems to suggest that vanilla beans made with vodka or any alchole in home may not be the real vanilla beans. is that real?
            he or she said it's not that simple.

            1. re: hae young

              that person is selling vanilla extract

        2. I've done rum, bourbon and vodka. My preference is vodka as the taste is cleaner and purer. Good luck!

          7 Replies
            1. re: chefathome

              I gave bottles of vanilla extract made with bourbon as Christmas gifts this year. I think it all depends on what you're looking for. Vanilla made with vodka tastes more like plain old vanilla. Personally, I love the flavor you get using bourbon. It seems richer somehow.

              I used 4 beans per cup. Using more beans would be more expensive, but take less time to get to cooking/baking strength.

              1. re: chefathome

                hey! how do you store them in terms of both finished and un finished pure vanilla extract? i mean refrigerator or cool dark place?
                and how about summer season?

                1. re: hae young

                  I always keep it in my dark pantry, all year round. Our summer is so short (i.e. measured in weeks) so we do not have issues with extended periods of heat. But others I know who also make it just store in their pantry or shelves in the basement.

                2. re: chefathome

                  Never heard of using bourbon. Of course there are a TON of things I've never heard of and that's why discussions like this are so valuable! Is that some confusion over beans from Madagascar being called Bourbon beans or do you really like the flavor bourbon adds?

                  I've made vanilla with vodka and rum to see how different the flavor is. There's a definite difference in the aroma from the bottles -- you can definitely smell the rum in my rum-based vanilla -- but by the time I put 1 or 2 teaspoons of it in a batch of something I don't really detect much flavor difference.

                  I also add a coffee bean or two to a small (375ml) bottle of alcohol and I've added some mace blades to that in the bottle I'm currently extracting. Don't know how that will work out. Next thing I'll experiment with is a cardamom pod or two.

                  Besides those experiments I'm working on a large bottle for Christmas presents this coming year. It has a wad of whole, unsplit beans. I figure if it has a whole year to steep it should be able to extract a good amount of flavor from unsplit beans. And this way I can bottle a bean with each presentation bottle and include the link to the Chow video on milking the seeds as a bonus beyond the visual.

                  1. re: rainey

                    *LOVE* the coffee bean idea! As soon as I overcome my paralysis about which vanilla beans to order from the site below, I'm going home to add beans to existing bottles.

                    1. re: tcamp

                      tcamp, that's funny! happy shopping.
                      I'm curious about adding the cardamom pod..

                3. I always use rum. Only because when I first bought a bottle of Perpetual Vanilla years ago, the sales woman told me it had rum in it so I've always used that to refill. I like the taste of rum which does persist a bit even after a month in with the beans.

                  But now I'm tempted to try bourbon.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tcamp

                    Me too! I had some extremely good bourbon vanilla gelato once.

                  2. you may want to check out Everclear. It's pure grain alcohol (some bottles are 80 proof, some are 190 prrof!). Very inexpensive, and it won't impose on the vanilla flavor.

                    1. I am so glad I noticed this thread. Some weeks ago CHOW ran a video demonstrating how to store whole vanilla beans in 2 inches of dark rum. What was unique to this preparation was cutting off the front tip of each bean to create a place for the bean to draw up the rum like a straw. Genius! I tried this method with about 50 dried whole beans and can happily report that not only did the dried beans return to their plump state beautifully but all I have to do is pull down against the bean to extract this wonderful stream of vanilla seeds (no pod slicing down the middle) and return it to the jar for the next use until the bean is completely free of seeds. Once the vanilla bean is completely free of seeds, I'm drying it out and whirling the bean pod through my coffee grinder (whirly type) to create fresh vanilla powder. Great tip, CHOW video people! And the BONUS: that 2 inches of dark rum the whole beans are standing in makes for the a highly concentrated extract!

                      here's the video with Sarabeth Levine

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        Dopey me, I was wondering how I'd store the vanilla seed pulp after squeezing it from the pod. Further, it seemed there was a too much potential for waste transferrring it from a storage container. Squeezing out only what's needed makes so much more sense. Thanks HillJ, for the tip!

                        I have no idea how to calculate a reasonable shelf life of the pulp; any ideas?

                        On another note, 50 vanilla beans!?! Some spice purveyer surely worships the ground you walk on! Can I come over and enjoy some of of the deliciousness you must be whipping up from that much vanilla?


                        1. re: sccrash

                          I have no idea how to calculate a reasonable shelf life of the pulp; any ideas?

                          Once I am no longer able to squeeze vanilla seeds out of the pod, I wrap the pulp in plastic wrap in tablespoon batches and use as needed. I keep a ziplock bag of these small portions in the freezer. As for the shelf life, I use my nose as the test. Vanilla bean in dark rum lasts a good long while. My batch of beans (pre soak) was about a year and now in rum will last at least that long.

                          On another note, 50 vanilla beans!?! Some spice purveyer surely worships the ground you walk on! Can I come over and enjoy some of of the deliciousness you must be whipping up from that much vanilla?

                          I buy them through this co at a very reasonable price and the quality is excellent:
                          This morning vanilla dust was in my coffee and vanilla seeds were in my yogurt. It's just something I grab for these prices I can.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            You are my favorite person for today! Which beans do you prefer?

                            1. re: sccrash

                              Tahitian Vanilla Beans 1 lb - Chef Quality $19.95
                              These are sitting in the dark rum now.

                            2. re: HillJ

                              Nice people! When a shipment I ordered got waylaid a year or so ago they were extremely nice in helping me out with a speedy replacement.

                              I totally endorse the recommendation.

                              1. re: rainey

                                Good to hear anothers experience, rainey. I have nothing but high praise for this company. I have also purchased the mushrooms, saffron and paella pans from them. I'd love to visit their location in person one day.