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This blog is filled with the things I love. Family, Nature, gardening, my pets, cooking in the fireplace, all things vintage, and the simple pleasures in life. Being a farmgirl at heart, I consider myself a 'Modern Day Laura'

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

You can make your own homemade Vanilla Extract for a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store.

How many beans to vodka? The rule of thumb is 5-8 Vanilla Beans to 8 oz (1 cup) of Vodka. In this recipe I'm making a lot so you can adjust it to make any amount you'd like.

Ingredients needed: (I’m making a BIG batch)

• 50+ Madagascar Vanilla Beans Grade B (you can find on ebay or online). Note: vanilla beans are fresh for about 12 months, so don't buy more than you'll need; though unused beans may last longer if properly stored with vacuum packing.

• 1.75 liters of Vodka (about 60 oz)- an inexpensive brand is best, 37.5-40% alcohol, 75-80 proof. (Bourbon, rum and brandy can also be used).


1. Slice open the vanilla beans lengthwise.

2. Open vodka and pour out just about an ounce or so (to allow for space for beans to be added). Pour the extra vodka into a separate small bottle or mason jar & add 2 vanilla beans (cut up small) into it and shake well.

3. Add the vanilla beans to the larger bottle, cover and shake well.

4. Add a label with date & description to bottle(s). Store bottle(s) in a dark cool place for a minimum of 8 weeks. NOTE: Shake bottle(s) once a week!

5. If you have any vanilla beans left, vacuum seal them and store in a dark place. If you don’t own a vacuum sealer, just place the unused beans in a glass mason jar and store in the back of your pantry out of direct sunlight.

Eighteen days later...

...The extract is real dark and smells dee-licious!

That’s it! After a minimum of 8 weeks you can use your extract. How exciting because you made it yourself!

Storing: Dark glass bottles are best as it protects the extract from direct sun exposure.

Tip: Your vanilla extract will have a long shelf life, literally it will last for years! Vanilla extract matures with age and will become more flavorful. Some people age the extract for months longer and that's perfectly ok. Once you start using your extract, you may simply add in more liquor to replace what you have used. Always keep the beans in the bottle submerged under the alcohol.

Gifts: Homemade Vanilla Extract makes a great gift for someone who likes to bake. Simple place some of your wonderful extract in a dark decorative glass bottle with a pretty ribbon and label.

My Costs: I spent $13.99 plus tax on the 1.75 liter of vodka (buy the most inexpensive brand), and $21.50 on the 50 Grade B Madagascar Vanilla Beans including shipping, totaling approx $36.70 for nearly 60 oz of homemade Vanilla Extract. Was it worth it? well, considering a little bottle of pure Vanilla Extract in my supermarket costs between $5-7.00 for a 1 oz bottle, I'd say so!

Consider this: If you purchased 59 of those 1 oz bottles of pure (not imitation) Vanilla Extract in the supermarket it would cost approx $413.00!! Your cost to make approx 59 oz of PURE Vanilla Extract? About $36.70! You decide. If you want to purchase darker bottles for gifts, ok a few dollars more, but that's no big deal. Go to thrift shops, or ebay or online. It's STILL cost effective. Just sterilize them before using them.



The Vanilla Extract is done. Click to see the results.

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