Thursday, July 25, 2013

DIY: Vanilla Extract

I've been wanting to do this for a while, and I knew I needed to get it done in the summer if I wanted it ready for Christmas Baking. Technically it takes a minimum of 8 weeks, but will continue to get stronger and more flavorful as it sits.

I started by ordering Vanilla Beans on Amazon. Since I used my Discover Rewards it was 'free'. I use free loosely as many finance people would debate that assertion.

Most online recipes recommend using vodka as your liquid medium, but suggest that you can try rum, brandy, etc for different flavors. Since I like to live on the edge I jumped in. I picked up a bottle of vodka and a bottle of rum. I also had a bottle of Cacique Guaro that friends brought back from Costa Rica.

Basic Recipe:
10 Vanilla Beans split lengthwise
1 Liter Vodka
I sliced the beans in half lengthwise to release the seeds for deeper saturation. Fresh beans are soft and pliable, mine where both and the smell was amazing!
I divided my vanilla stalks into 4 bottles making sure that they were completely covered in the liquid. They will mold and destroy the entire bottle if they are not completely submerged.
Store in a cool dark place, and shake every couple of days. After 1 week it is a nice caramel color that will continue to deepen as the flavor permeates. Check back in a few months and I will let you know which combination was the best flavor.


  1. Mmmmmm. I love vanilla. I just bought the whole beans for a jam recipe. They were kind of pricey but the favour was unreal. It looks like it made a lot of extract though. Is it a better price to make your own? I go through a lot of it cause I pour it in my coffee water before brewing.

    1. I spent about $45 for 4 large bottles. (that is the price if I would have paid for the beans with cash instead of reward dollars) Since good vanilla runs $9 for 8oz or even $13 for 16oz of grocery store brand. Yes it is cheaper to make your own if you use a lot. If you only use a little, probably not since your start up investment is a bit steep. But I probably have a 2 year supply now of really good stuff.

      If you use a little, you could get together with other people (coworkers, friends, church group, sisters, cousins, etc) and share the cost.


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