Am I the only one who, as a little girl, loved the smell of vanilla so much that she just had to take a little taste – and then she gagged? Surely I’m not the only one. I remember the moment clearly. It was oh-so disappointing. The taste of vanilla extract was nothing like the smell. Bleh.
So now here we are, a few decades and a few gallons of Homemade Vanilla Extract later. I know now what I didn’t know as a little girl: vanilla extract is made with alcohol. Well, no wonder.
Still, one would think that after 4-6 months of sitting in vodka, the all-amazing vanilla beans would overpower the alcohol. Plus, how can something that tastes so terrible by itself be such a delicious flavoring in recipes?
My well thought out answer is, of course, this: I dunno.
All I know is that after you follow all the directions and make vanilla extract, you can take a little taste and think, “Oh no! I did something wrong. This tastes awful!” But you’ll be wrong. You did everything right and vanilla extract just smells good (in small whiffs) and tastes bad (by itself). See? Look.
It smells soooooo good.
But it tastes soooooo bad.
How about Cinnamon Extract?
Mmmm, smells good.
Wow. That tastes bad. And whoa – it also burns the tongue. I guess it is cinnamon, after all.
So what about Mint Extract?
Well, mine doesn’t even smell good at this point, so I didn’t dare taste it. In its defense, I only started it last week. Therefore, it still smells strongly of vodka. It’ll get better in a few weeks.
Now, if you take a deep, long whiff of your homemade extracts, the smell of alcohol will overpower the vanilla bean/cinnamon stick/mint. So waft gently, my friends, waft gently.
All these words and ridiculous selfies to say this: If your extracts smell strong (but good) and taste terrible, you have done a fine job. Well done. You’ve made delicious extracts.
What extracts do you have in the works right now? How do they smell? Good? Strong? Nasty? Do feel free to send me a extract sniffing or tasting selfie.