I had a few reasons for wanting to make my own vanilla extract. For one, I bake a lot, so I use a LOT of vanilla.
Secondly, homemade vanilla is healthier than conventionally processed vanilla, and even though only a small amount of vanilla goes into most recipes, I don’t like adding ANY unknown toxins if I can avoid it.
Thirdly, it’s less expensive to make your own, and considering you’re making a healthier version than what’s available at the store, you’re really saving money.
And let’s not forget that it’s fun to make, especially if you like giving homemade gifts like this for Christmas. I got my batch made just in time for it to be ready by the holidays.
Here are some beautiful, fragrant vanilla beans that I ordered from Olive Nation. You’ll need 20 to make one quart of homemade vanilla extract. If you’re using a gallon jar, you’ll need 80 vanilla beans.
With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut starting at flat end, all the way up the bean, leaving about an inch at the top so the bean can stay together.
Place twenty vanilla beans, cut sides in first, into quart size mason or ball jar.
Fill jar with 100 proof (cheap) vodka.
Fasten lids tightly, shake, then place in dark spot in back of pantry. Shake jars every couple of weeks. When vanilla extract is ready (about six months), strain the liquid through a coffee filter and pour into amber bottles for storage and gift-giving.
- 100-proof vodka
- 20 vanilla beans per quart of vodka
- Cut vanilla beans, leaving intact at top, then place in jar.
- Cover in vodka, and fasten lids tightly.
- Store for six months in dark, shaking every couple of weeks.
- Strain vanilla extract through coffee filters into smaller jars.