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Thoughts on High-Fructose Corn Syrup - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
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ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Thoughts on High-Fructose Corn Syrup
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haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: March 25th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

The initial outlay is more expensive than a normal bottle. But the nice thing about it is that... you don't buy it again. For a long time. I paid about $17 for my beans and my bottle of vodka, combined. But once I made the extract, whenever I use some I just top off the bottle and it quickly reintegrates with the rest.

I haven't bought vanilla for almost a year now. I used to go through four or five bottles of vanilla year at $7 a pop. So $17 saved me from spending $30... so far. The bottle is still full. I know people who've kept their bottles going for over five years, just topping it off after they use some.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 25th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

That's a great idea! It won't work for me -- we have a dry house, so no keeping beverage alcohol around to top off a bottle of extract. But other folks may find it useful.
dianavilliers From: dianavilliers Date: March 26th, 2010 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Would you be able to enlist the help of a friend to store your unused vodka? Perhaps someone who also needs vanilla essence?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 26th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Not if the idea is to top off the bottle of extract every time some is poured out.
dianavilliers From: dianavilliers Date: March 26th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

What I'd do is leave the bottle with the beans and the extra vodka at your accomplice's place, and decant 50-100ml into your own vessel to take home when you intend to do some baking. It will take a little more organisation on your part, but not much more than remembering to buy some at the store.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 26th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

That might work.

Does anyone know what proof or percentage is the food-grade alcohol used to make commercial extracts? I'd like to compare that to beverage alcohols such as vodka or brandy, which can be used for making homemade extracts. Some of my recipes, like the bread puddings, have a tablespoon or more of vanilla extract in them, and I don't think it's as high-proof as vodka would be. And the ice creams don't get cooked.
xiphias From: xiphias Date: March 28th, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

My bottle of vanilla extract says 35% alcohol on it. Booze is most often 40%.

In practice, it's not significantly different.

And, when you're making homemade stuff, you can experiment with different infusion media, if you want. Brandy and bourbon are both popular.
stryck From: stryck Date: March 28th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

You can make vanilla sugar, too. Just put the beans in a big jar full of sugar and wait a few weeks.
sarahdotcom From: sarahdotcom Date: March 28th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Instead of buying a big bottle of vodka, what about buying a mini one? Or picking one up the next time you fly somewhere. You won't be able to top it up, but I'm struggling to understand how that works - surely the extract gets weaker the more vodka you add.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 29th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

I may try it with a mini bottle of something, yes. (I don't fly anymore.) The idea with topping it off is that a vanilla bean contains more flavor than a small bottle will leach out, so that it can continue exuding flavor for some time.
sarahdotcom From: sarahdotcom Date: March 29th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Ah, gotcha. That's great you don't fly. I don't know how I can avoid it really... I was a bridesmaid for one of my best friends in Sri Lanka in January, and next Jan I have to go to NZ for my brother's wedding. I'm trying to do 10/10 (cut your carbon footprint by 10% in 2010) and I'll probably do that just by cutting out short-haul flights, but it's more difficult to avoid the long haul ones.
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