Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

For a few years, I wanted to try my hand at making homemade vanilla extract.

The upfront cost scared me out of it. I would ask for birthday and for Christmas for vanilla beans and vodka, to no avail.
My vanilla beans soaking
This year, I decided to buy the ingredients to make my own Christmas presents. Problem solved! I was buying this for gifts.

My husband and I went to Meijer to buy 3 liters of Vodka. Man did we feel like we were ready to party it up. Next time, I think I will try to find a higher proof of Vodka. That might take a little more searching though :)

I decided to try out some vanilla beans from ebay. I didn't know about trusting the people, but I checked their feedback and picked wisely. Hasn't affected us yet! Check around online to see what people recommend of how many vanilla beans to put into a liter. There are some various opinions.

Boston Round Bottles, 4 Oz Pack of 12Cut your vanilla beans down the center and stick in the bottle of vodka or put both the beans and the vodka into another glass jar. Let the jar sit in a dark place for anywhere from 2-6 months. Make sure to shake occasionally. I started using ours around 2 months. Pretty good stuff!

I bought these Boston Round Bottles, 4 Oz Pack of 12 from Amazon to be able to give the vanilla as gifts.

I was pretty pleased with how the vanilla turned out. One of these days I will get to make more!

I am by far not a vanilla making expert though, so I would love to hear any advice that you have!


  1. Do you sell it? I have some in my cupboard right now but when I run out, I'd like to buy some from you. I've never tried making it myself. I would feel so strange buying the vodka as I'm sure you did too.

    Here is a recipe from a cookbook I have:

    12 vanilla beans
    3 cups vodka.
    Carefully slice the vanilla beans lengthwise to expose all the tiny seeds. Drop those sliced vanilla beans into the bottle of vodka making sure the vodka covers the full height of the beans. Give the bottle a good shake and store in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks. After that, pour out 1 cup into another container for regular baking use. Meanwhile, top off the big bottle with more vodka, add 3 more beans, and store for another couple of months. This step of pouring off and topping up can be repeated again and again, as long as you add more beans and let the mixture sit for the required time.

    1. Call me a young person, but I would have never thought to look in a cookbook! There are lots of recipes floating around online that I have checked out. They just all vary a little.

      I have sold one bottle. I guess I should do some figuring about what a bottle would cost to sell.

    2. LOL about the cookbook! I have 5 healthy cookbooks - 4 of them pertain to Ben's grain-free diet and the other one is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon - an excellent book!! I won it on a give-away from someone's blog. :) Ben can't have most store-bought vanilla - that's the reason there was a recipe in my grain-free gourmet cookbook. I buy our vanilla at Trader Joe's. It's $6 for 4 oz. It has bourbon in it - don't know if that's the same thing as vodka. I also saw some at TJMaxx that looked "legal" - that's what we say for food Ben can eat - is it legal or illegal... ;) but I didn't buy any of it. I'm always skeptical that things aren't labeled honestly - that's the benefit of making it yourself.

    3. The problem is that I own cookbooks. I guess I just like looking online because then I can see what other people think or what they would change!

      What it is the other vanillas that make them "illegal"?

  2. Replies
    1. My proof was 42%. I know you can higher and it is suppose to work better, but they didn't have it at my meijer. I was ready to make it bought what they had!
      Are you going to try making it?!

    2. I keep saying I will. But you're right - the ingredients are expensive! Now that I've seen your pictures, I really want to try it.

    3. Use it for gifts! I put it off for about 2 years before I finally did it!

  3. Way to go Lydia! That's something that I've wanted to do. Right now I'm still working on a large bottle of real vanilla that was gifted to me. Maybe some day I'll get adventurous and try it, or just message you for a bottle!! By the way, you've been lucky for me lately. Both last week and this week when I've searched for you on swagbucks I've gotten bonus points! Thanks alot!!! Tricia

    1. Tricia, I think you should try it! But I could always hook you up with a bottle!

      I don't think I have ever won swagbucks searching for myself. Glad I was lucky for you! In the next week or so, I am going to do a post on a way I have recently found to earn a lot of swagbucks. I am racking up the money. I have gotten $15 in amazon gift cards in the last about month. I will take it!

    2. Ok, now I'm curious! When you gonna do that post?! LOL!! I'm very close to a $100 card payout and am anxious to get er done!!

    3. Next Thursday is the plan! What store are you getting the payout for?


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