The scent of vanilla is particularly distinctive—sweet, warm, and always pleasant. It is even said to have a calming and mood-lifting effect! Vanilla is, together with saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world. Demand exceeds production by far, and so we can buy artificial vanilla extract as a cheaper substitute in every supermarket—but watch out for the difference in quality. See the video to find out how to convert a real vanilla bean into homemade, pure vanilla extract.
Heat sugar in a small saucepan at medium heat until it caramelizes. Deglaze with water, then add vanilla seeds and empty vanilla beans and let reduce. After approx. 10 min., remove the beans and transfer liquid into a clean, dry mason jar. Let cool and stir before every use!
Homemade vanilla extract can be used to sweeten a variety of smoothies, juices, or fruit salads. It refines pastry and desserts and adds a delicious note to hot beverages.