Crafty cousin Trish sent me an intriguing picture on my cell phone recently. It looked like a row of bottles sitting on her window sill. I texted her back, “What in the world is THAT?” To which she replied that she was making vanilla extract. BRILLIANT! I am soooo making some vanilla extract! Pure vanilla extract is so expensive and most commercial vanilla has additives that I can certainly live without. With the holidays coming up, and baking season in high gear, how could I not? I did a little bit of research and found that Tip Nut had a quite a bit of information about making your own vanilla extract.
Because of my classic impatience, I purchased my vanilla beans for $3.99 each at my local farmer’s market. I just had to get a batch started! I ended up ordering 32 more Madagascar vanilla beans from My Spice Sage for a much better price. I’ve heard of others finding them for an even better price, but again, patience is not my strong point. Hopefully I will get my order shortly and can start a bigger batch. I’m envisioning dark, rich homemade vanilla extract bottled in dark amber bottles with cute, customized labels. Super Holiday gifts! However, if you’re not wanting to make large batches, I’ve read that as you use the extract, you can top off your bottle with more vodka until the scent of the vanilla bean is gone – at which point you will want to add another vanilla bean or two. According to Food Network, the extract can sit at room temperature indefinitely and like wine, just gets better with age. So, just one small batch could become your home’s never-ending supply of good quality, natural vanilla extract!
After just 2 short hours and a quick shake, we are already getting somewhere! This next 4 to 8 weeks is going to go by so slowly, but I’ll be sure to give it a shake and a sniff test daily - the sniff test isn’t all that pleasant right now, but it’s supposed to lose the vodka smell after a short time.
I’ll report back in a month or so, but wanted to make sure to post the recipe I used now, so if you’re equally excited about homemade vanilla extract, you could be ready for holiday baking and gift giving as well!
- 1 cup vodka
- 3 vanilla beans
- Place 1 cup of vodka into a sterilized canning jar or any bottle.
- Cut the vanilla beans in half width wise then in half again length wise and place into the vodka making sure the beans are completely submerged.
- Place in a cool dark area of your house such as a cabinet or pantry.
- Shake daily and allow vanilla to infuse the vodka for at least 4 to 8 weeks.