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Home Ec Project:
Homemade Vanilla Flavorings

This home ec project can be a great money saver. The vanilla flavoring made by this method is also of a higher quality that many discount brands for artificial vanilla flavoring that you find in the store.

Vanilla Extract

Split five vanilla beans lengthwise down the center to expose the seeds, keeping the ends of the beans intact. Place beans in a pint of high-quality vodka, rum or brandy. Store in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard or closet for at least four weeks. Shake the bottle several times a week.

To use, either remove four of the beans for another purpose (you can add them with a fresh bean to make more extract, or you can use them for cooking), or let all the beans remain in the bottle and periodically add more alcohol to keep the bottle replenished. Eventually the beans will lose their strength, but they should contain flavor for many months.

Vanilla Sugar

Split one vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from each half.

Cut the two halves into about 1/2-inch pieces. Add the pieces and the seeds to three cups of granulated sugar in a glass jar. Tightly close and store for one week, shaking occasionally.

Sieve the sugar as you use it, returning the beans and seeds to the jar. This may be repeated over and over for 6 months or so, until the flavor of the vanilla sugar weakens.

Use vanilla sugar to top cereals, french toast or fruit. Or add it to coffee or tea.

Vanilla Oil

Gently heat one cup of mild vegetable oil. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Stir to blend. Use to brush over grilled vegetables or fruits such as pineapple and papaya.

Other uses for vanilla:

A few drops of vanilla in a can of paint will help eliminate unpleasant odors. Rub it on your hands to eliminate strong odors like fish.

Slip a vanilla bean under your car seat to give the car a fresh aroma and help eliminate musty odors.

Add a teaspoon of vanilla to tomato sauces, chili and barbecue sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

In baking, cream the vanilla with the shortening or butter portion of the ingredients. The fat encapsulates the vanilla, preventing it from evaporating in the baking process.

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