For those of you who make your own vanilla extract, a couple of questions:
1) From where do you purchase your vanilla beans and which type do you typically use?
2) Do you prefer to use rum or vodka?
I purchase my vanilla beans from a spice store in Wichita Kansas, The Spice Merchant. But the next time, I am going to try Ebay. There in an individual there who sells several varieties of beans, and they come highly reccommended on some of my food groups.
vodka (organic!) and vanilla beans i bought in India years ago that are still amazingly flavorful and moist...i don't know what i will do when i run out!
I use vodka and I buy my vanilla beans from Penzeys - I like the quality of their goods.
I buy mine in bulk on eBay. Seriously - a tip from Alton Brown.
Beanilla brand or Madagascar beans
3/4 cup vodka, 1/4 cup bourbon, both 80 or higher proof. You want your vanilla to taste like vanilla, not rum or bourbon. I use a bit of bourbon just so I can say that I use "real bourbon vanilla," because real Bourbon vanilla doesn't actually contain bourbon--it's called that because the vanilla comes from the Bourbon Islands.
I have five bottles of vanilla in my cabinet right now, and each is used for a different reason: McCormick pure extract, Wilton Clear artificial vanilla, Nielsen Massey Madagascar bourbon, a bottle with a peeled-off label that a daughter-in-law's mother brought back from Mexico and my homemade, which I use mostly for whipped cream and real buttercream (I think it mutes the somewhat eggy taste of the buttercream).
Thanks, everyone! I just ordered 3 batches of 10 of 3 different types of beans from EBay and very excited to do some experimentation!! They were much cheaper than I imagined!