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Old July 9th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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Default Vanilla Beans & The Making of Vanilla

We were on a cruise in the South Pacific last fall and purchased a bag of vanilla beans. We were told by the seller to put those beans in a bottle of gin, wait about 90 days and we would have great vanilla. It has now been about 120 days and while we can smell the vanilla, it is very weak. We used about 20 beans in the fifth of gin. What did we do wrong or is that the way it is? Doubt that we will retrun to the South Pacific to ask this question so thought we would pose it to the one of you who has done this before. THANKS!! This vanilla will cost a fortune before we get through.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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I can answer this. Vanilla comes from an Orchid. The vanilla orchid flowers open in the morning then if not pollinated the fall off at night. They can only be pollinated by hand. The Vanilla bean is an orchid seed pod that has been cured. Once it's cured you can make Vanilla extract by putting them in Vodka, everclear, rum etc. The stronger the acohol the more vanilla flavor you get. Here are some Vanilla extract recipes. http://tipnut.com/homemade-vanilla-extract/
The pictures below are all from my Vanilla vine I did get some seeds, but I didn't properly cure them. I will try again this year.
The Flower

The Seed Pod

The Vine
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Old August 13th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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Default Vanilla

katlady-----thanks for the post-----and I checking out the site you posted----------Bill
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Old August 14th, 2009, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: Vanilla

Quote:
Originally Posted by billbelt
katlady-----thanks for the post-----and I checking out the site you posted----------Bill
I couldn't resist when I saw your question. Most people don't realize that vanilla comes from Orchids. Both my parents were born on tropical islands so I grew up around orchids. This was in the link I attached and I think it's the reason you have a weak extract. I used Everclear (very strong) to make Limoncello and it took the yellow right out of those lemon peels. I know it's to late now, but I would have used everclear or 80 proof vodka.

Quote:
# Stronger Extract: Use a high proof of alcohol and scrape the seeds from the bean.
# Weaker Extract: Use a lesser proof of alcohol and soak beans intact.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Default Vanilla Beans & The Making of Vanilla

katlady----I now have a solution----just head back to the South Pacific and get some more vanilla beans and start all over again.

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Old August 16th, 2009, 03:03 AM
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Default Re: Vanilla Beans & The Making of Vanilla

Quote:
Originally Posted by billbelt
katlady----I now have a solution----just head back to the South Pacific and get some more vanilla beans and start all over again.

It's not your fault the person who sold them to you gave you bad advice. But hey it's an excuse to get back to the South Pacific.

I just looked at my post and the big writing in the quote box makes it look like I was yelling. I didn't make the writing in the quote big because I was yelling, but because when you put it in the quote box the font gets smaller and is hard to read. I think I need new glasses.

I didn't know about the weaker and stronger vanilla extracts until I read this information. That is why I like answering questions, because I pick up interesting information.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 09:59 PM
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katlady----no problems here---I always appreciate the postings. Have a great day-----Bill
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