Recently, I have been interested in making my own ingredients instead of buying processed ingredients at the store. When I came across this recipe for homemade vanilla extract in The Encyclopedia of Country Living I was very excited. Carla Emery lists three different recipes for vanilla extract- two that include alcohol and one that does not include alcohol. I am not sure which one would taste better, especially since you would not be able to taste the alcohol flavor in the final product, however it seems that the non-alcoholic recipe can be used immediately, while the alcoholic versions need to sit between 1-2 months before they can be used.
OLD-TIME VANILLA EXTRACT:
Use 4 oz. vanilla beans, 16 oz. edible alcohol, and 16 oz. water. Slice the beans and cut into fine pieces with a sharp knife. Thoroughly powder them in a mortar with 1-2 oz. granulated sugar. Put the powder into the alcohol and water mixture. If you don't have pure alcohol and are substituting a strong whisky blend or brandy, use correspondingly less water. Let the vanilla soak in the liquid for 4 weeks. Strain. The liquid is your extract.
EASY VANILLA EXTRACT:
Use 1 quart of any good 80-proof brandy and two split vanilla beans. Soak them in a corked jar for two months before using.
NON-ALCOHOLIC VANILLA EXTRACT:
Cut up one vanilla bean into small pieces, place in a bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over them; cover bowl and allow mixture to steep overnight. Blend mixture. Strain and return juice to the blender. Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid lecithin, 1-tablespoon honey, and 1-tablespoon vegetable oil. Blend; pour into a bottle, cap and refrigerate. Before using, shake well.