I have read about this a couple times, but have never really needed to try it because I have had a good supply of really great vanilla from different trips, by myself and others, to Latin America. Well, that stash finally ran out, and let's just get it out there, that imitation stuff is, well, cruddy!
I knew that the Amish store sold vanilla beans. Noah was out running errands and I told him to pick up two beans. He called me back and told me under no uncertain terms, "No, they are 5 bucks a piece." I, being the good wife, was a bit miffed. Didn't he get that imitation vanilla was so very icky? And then I got online. He was right. I was able to buy 12 beans from India with shipping for just $5. Good call Noah.
Being that they had to travel all the way from India, they didn't get here until today. I am sure they were a bit shocked by the snow and cold, although any hearty Northerner will tell you today was a heat wave! It hit 40 today.
Oh, and you could smell the loveliness from the package, which was a cloth bag and bubble wrap. There is something so charming about getting real mail from another part of the world. Just think about what those vanilla beans have heard and seen in the last two weeks. Things I will probably never see! Oh, so romantic and mysterious! Who picked them? Who wrapped them? What were they talking about when they were doing those things? Is the money they earned from their work enough to feed their family? Were they wearing one of those lovely saris that if it was so stinkin cold here, I would be sporting one?
So here's the deal, you need 1 cup vodka, 3 fresh vanilla beans, a glass jar. That's it.
Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. As you can see, I used more than 3 beans. Actually I used 9, and 3 cups of the vodka. Shove the beans in your jar. You will notice your hands smell, sorta like when you cut onions, only with this you will think your hands morphed into cake when you weren't looking.
Pour the vodka over the beans in the jar, give it a good shake, and then put it a dark, cool space. In about 6 weeks you will have vanilla. I'll let you know how it turns out!
UPDATE: This works out amazing!! I am still doing it, and now we are in Costa Rica. I ordered Vanilla Beans when we were in the States, got the Vodka here and we are good to go!