Homemade vanilla extract

I decided I'd try my hand at making vanilla extract today.  I understand the homemade stuff is far superior to most that you can buy, so I'm giving it a try.

Homemade Vanilla Extract: Day 0
It's easy enough to make. You just need alcohol and vanilla beans.

Homemade Vanilla Extract: Day 1
Take 250 ml of alcohol - I used an inexpensive vodka.  Split 3 vanilla beans lengthwise and then in half and add them to the vodka in a sealable bottle.

Put in a dark place like a cupboard for 2 - 3 months.  Shake occasionally.

After 3 months, decant out a small amount and use as you would bought vanilla extract and top up the rest with fresh vodka. You can keep your original stock going quite a while.

So mine is in the cupboard.  I hope I remember in October.  I shall put it in my diary!

Travel Snacks - Ginger cashews

Following on from yesterday's Sweetsalt crunch recipe for my airplane snack - today I finished dehydrating some ginger cashews.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of whole cashews - soaked in water for 1 hour then rinsed and drained
1/4 cup powdered and ground coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence/extract
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients together then dehydrate at 118 degrees F for 6-8 hours.

I actually soaked my cashew for about 4 hours and then it took ages to dehydrate them to a crunchy texture again, so I'd recommend a brief soak and then the dehydrating doesn't take so long. The idea of the soak is so that the moisture in the nuts enables the other ingredients to stick to the cashew.

I love everything ginger, so couldn't help but enjoy these.  But it is interesting to have the vanilla flavor along with the ginger and like the sweetsalt crunch - a combination of sweet and savory.  The vanilla is actually a more predominant flavor than the ginger, so I may add more ginger next time.

You can picture me on the plane, flying for hours, nibbling away at my snacks!!!!  I won't be able to sleep for my perky taste buds!