Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homemade Rum Vanilla Extract

This is one of those little projects I put off for way too long, but it is SO easy! Now we have not only safe vanilla extract for the little man, we have lots of yummy and inexpensive vanilla extract that I use in all my baking. Many commercial extracts are marked as gluten-free but they are made with corn alcohol.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Good quality, unflavored rum
  • Vanilla beans (I used 8, a mix of Tahitian and Madagascar beans)

That's it!

Split the vanilla pods vertically, then scrape the seeds out and into the bottle. If the beans won't fit into the rum bottle (or whatever bottle you use for your vanilla extract), cut them in half. Place the pods in the bottle too.

There are homemade vanilla tutorials all over the internet, so if you want a few more photos, they will be easy to find. Typically vodka is recommended, but little guy is allergic to many of the sources, so I used rum because it's made from sugar cane. Research the brand you buy and make sure no other flavors are added to it. Another safe option we found for my guy would have been barley vodka, but went with rum because I wanted to be able to use it when baking for my gluten-free friend too!

Let the vanilla mixture soak for about 2 months, shaking it occasionally. I keep the bottle in a dark corner of my counter. I use it pretty frequently, but if you don't, give it a shake once and a while.

I added this to Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday post! Check out the other allergy friendly recipes linked up!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More new allergies?

I haven't been experimenting with new recipes much this summer, short of baking the same cupcake recipes without guar gum. One of these days I'll write up the coconut yogurt recipe I'm using (gum-free is a struggle!). The goal for this summer was to find a safe multivitamin and hopefully a safe vegetable or two, but we haven't done that yet. Unfortunately it has been one reaction after another and little guy seems some new allergens: celery, cherry and peach. I hope I'm wrong but I'm pulling them for now. Corn has become even more of a problem and he's now even having trouble with citric acid (which is generally corn derived). He reacts to yellow mustard now too, so I don't know if that's the mustard seed or if he's reacting to the source of the vinegar (wheat and/or corn).

The good news is that he is becoming more aware of what food is safe and what isn't. We got him a MedicAlert bracelet in his favorite orange. It usually takes some bribing with Enjoy Life chocolate and he's only wearing it when we go out now, but it's a good first step, right?