Monday, April 15, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making your own vanilla extract isn't as crazy as it seems.  Did you know that extracts are really just hooch, hopped up on massive quantities of vanilla?  I did not.  Apparently, during Prohibition, people would actually drink vanilla extract.  I do not recommend this.  I do, however, recommend making a quick and easy batch of vanilla extract that you can keep on hand in your pantry and use for making all of your baked good extra scrumptious.  Homemade vanilla extract is not only more tasty and less preservatives than store bought, it is also a fraction of the price.  Win-win.  It is also easy to double, triple, etc. this recipe, so it makes a great gift.  Especially if you want to repay some lovely ladies who threw you a super fabulous bridal shower this past weekend.  Just saying!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
2 cups vodka
5 whole vanilla beans
medium mason jar
Vanilla beans come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and origins.  You can do some research to see what kind will be best for you.  I used Madagascar, because, why not?  Buying them from the grocery store is a racket.  They are old and overpriced.  I bought mine online at Amazon and they were reasonably prices and perfectly fresh.
A fresh, good vanilla bean will be slightly soft and pliable.  It will have a sheen from the essential oils.  If you have a dry, hard bean,  go get your money back!

1.  You want to start with nice, clean jars.  Fresh from the dishwasher or by hand with hot soapy water is sufficient.
2.  Slice the vanilla beans in half length-wise and then cut in them in half width-wise.  Length-wise releases all those delicious vanilla beans and width-wise ensures that the beans will fit in the jar and be fully covered by the vodka.
3.  Pour vodka into jar.
4.  Close the jar and give a good shake.  You do not need to "seal" it in any special way.  A cute label never hurts either.
5.  Allow to sit in a cool, dark place (pantry) for 6-8 weeks.  Shake occasionally.
Once you've got extract, you can remove the beans or leaving them in will result in a more potent extract.  Enjoy!

Two Years Ago:  Lemon -Dill Baked Salmon


  1. reminder to self...chug as soon as I get home :)
    what a great gift thanks sister!!

  2. even more impressive than making your own vanilla extract, is blogging about it hours after arriving home from a busy weekend away! you're amazing Emily! :)

  3. Wish I could have been there for the shower!! But I'll see you for your big day :)