Monday, 26 March 2018

Home Made Pantry Mixes - Vanilla Sugar/Vanilla powder

I have been researching making my own dried pantry mixes for my pantry shelf to make up in bulk and then use as I need them. I am very much an ingredients person in any event but I am aware that a little bit of extra stuff here or there is added in on a lot of pre-prepared products that are not necessarily required by the manufacturers/producers - not everyone but certain ones.   I am thinking about fillers and/or extra sugar in products that really do not need to be there.

Because I like to know what goes into my food because of the different health considerations of OH and myself and because I like to keep an eye on how much I was spending I decided that I would try some mixes out for myself and see whether or not that they have a place on my pantry shelf.   Because I work full time in any event I was also looking for a simpler method in which to organise stuff so that I did not have to mess around during the week.  That is why the home made pantry mixes appealed in the first place.  In an effort to make things a lot simpler for me.

From the limited trials I have made so far I very much believe there is. However there are always other considerations to take into account as well.  In our household we tend to go for quality and flavour more than anything else but I also consider cost too.  Sometimes things can be made relatively easily and quickly and cheaply and are "win, win" recipes but it is very much a trial of what works for you and your family and very much whether you will use such things in your cooking on a regular basis.  For some it will not figure but for others very much so after all we are all different.

In any event, for me it is very much a step further along the road to make my own staples from those ingredients I have to hand. Very much on the basis that I do an awful lot of preserving in any event.  This is just a different side to it.

However so many of us are now used to buying the stuff prepared off the shelf (me included) that we do not know how to make things from scratch.  My logic dictates that if you know how to create stuff from scratch then you can potentially if you have a good base store of ingredients make your own from scratch.  Not only will it be helpful on a day to day basis if you run out of stuff rather than have to go out to the shop to buy something that you may not necessarily wish to keep in the pantry.  Equally the more you try different things and use things the more you will be inclined to add them to your requirements for your pantry especially if those products can be made in bulk and  be used.  Its only by having a go and finding out what works for you that you will work out what is right or wrong for your family.

During my research therefore I was very intrigued as to what Vanilla powder was.  From my enquiries it very much is a lot simpler to make and use than I had realised.  Vanilla powder is the name given to Vanilla Icing sugar in the States.  To us it would simply be Vanilla Icing Sugar!  It is surprising to see how many things are given different names between country to country. However I have noted that on some of the sweeter dried mixes Vanilla Icing Sugar/Vanilla powder is used an awful lot.  For me therefore it made sense to actually make a batch of this up in readiness to use for further recipes but also because I will use it in home made buttercream for filling Swiss rolls with or actually whipping up with fresh cream and then adding fresh Strawberries, Raspberries, Cherries, peaches etc.  You can even used tinned or bottled.  

I frequently make vanilla sugar - it is so useful in baking and when making custards or adding into cake mixes and indeed in preserving.  It is something I have made and use on a regular basis because a lot of the time I was not able to source it and if I did the price was exorbitant.  Vanilla pods for two at the moment are somewhere round the £2.50 to £3 mark and a kg of sugar ranging from about 70p to £1 per kg of sugar.  One vanilla pod and a kg of sugar make a large jar of vanilla sugar for say £2.00 if you just pop one vanilla pod into a jar of sugar then cover and leave for a month.  The sugar will be infused with vanilla - the vanilla pod is intact and you can reuse it in another jar of sugar or just leave it in-situ which is what I tend to do and the way I get the most out of the ingredients. (there are other methods i.e. blitzing in a food processor but the sugar goes a browny colour when you do this).

If I need a vanilla pod for home made custard then I just take it out of the sugar split it in half and then pop it into the milk for the pod to infuse after gentle warming for the basis of home made custard.  Remember so far you have only made one 1kg jar of home made vanilla sugar. 

Please see  my previous posts on vanilla sugar herewith links:

However, in reality I had not really thought of what we call Icing sugar (elsewhere perhaps known as confectioners sugar) being used in this way and perhaps missing it out as a result. It was only when I started doing my research that it occurred to me.

So with the second vanilla pod  why not make the Vanilla Icing sugar as well.  For around £4 you will end up with two 1kg jars of prepared sugar (One icing sugar and the other granulated or caster sugar). I use it in puddings, milk shakes (not much just a tad) vanilla vodka, with mixed fresh fruits  There are a lot of ways you can use the flavoured sugars.

There are lots of other flavours you can make too.

Catch you soon.



1 comment:

  1. If you live near a Poundstretcher they do a kg sugar for 50p (Tate and Lyle, granulated sugar).


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