How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

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Vanilla extract is one of those things that you should always have on hand in your kitchen. It just adds that little bit of flavor to so many homemade goods that just make them shine. I first learned how to make my own vanilla extract from Marillyn over at just-making-noise. I pinned her recipe a long time ago, and finally got around to trying it months later. 

I can't believe I waited so long to try it! Really, making your own vanilla extract is probably one of the easiest things you will ever do in your kitchen. It's a small monetary investment at the beginning, but it QUICKLY plays off. Plus, when you make it yourself in a big batch like this, your much less likely to ever run out. 

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract 

Really, this is less like a recipe and more like simple instructions. The method is very simple. To start, make sure you have all the ingredients you need on hand. 



You Will Need:

Whole vanilla beans (find them here)
Glass bottles (this is the kind I used)
High-proof vodka

First, gently cut open your vanilla bean pods and scrape out the little gorgeous seeds. Place the seeds in your glass bottle. And then add in the pods. Cover with alcohol. Put lid on your glass gar. 



Leave it out somewhere so you can see it and shake it occasionally. When the alcohol has turned from clear to light brown, it's ready to use. This can take a few months as the alcohol draws out the flavor from the vanilla. 


A Few Things to Note


Why no specific ratios? I don't give specific ratios for the beans to alcohol because you really don't need any. I used about eight beans for a 16 oz. bottle but you could use more or less. The more you have in a bottle, the less time it will take. 

How to keep your vanilla extract going? You have two options: First, when your alcohol has turned brown from steeping in the bottle with the vanilla beans, you can pour out the extract and start over with the same beans (I would probably only do this once, maybe twice). Second, you can simply add more alcohol as you use up the vanilla extract, thus making your own "perpetual" vanilla extract. Just make sure you keep the beans covered, because they will mold otherwise. I prefer the second method, just because that way I never run out! Though I will use the first if I want to give my extract as gifts. 

Once you start making your own vanilla extract, you will wonder why you haven't been doing this your whole life. It's so simple, and you will save a lot of money. Plus, if you keep it going perpetually like I do, you'll never run out!


What is your favorite thing to make that uses vanilla extract?


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19 comments:

  1. This is awesome! I might just have to try it! I use Vanilla all the time in making cookies and cakes and all. Thanks! Glad I found this on Melt In Your Mouth Monday! Momndaughtersavings.

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    1. Thanks, Jody! I use vanilla all the time, too. Love the stuff. ;)

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  2. I never thought of making my own vanilla extract but this looks so easy! Thanks for sharing...Aloha, Lori P.S. Visiting from Allergy Free Wednesday

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    1. It is so easy! Hope you give it a try some time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Wow, great idea. I bake a lot but never thought about making my own vanilla extract. This looks easy and I think I want to try it too. Thanks for sharing at Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party.
    Angel

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    1. Hey Angel! Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you end up making it and how you like it!

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  4. Thanks for the How-To. I just have to say your pictures are incredible!

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    1. Thanks, Mike. That's very sweet of you. <3

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  5. Thanks for sharing. This is such an easy and simple thing to do. Shared this on my Facebook page.

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  6. Wow - I had no idea this was so easy. My daughter does a ton of baking and I know she is going to want to try this out! Thanks for the how-to!

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  7. I love homemade vanilla and your recipe looks great! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday today, it is great to have you at the party. Hope you have a very special week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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  8. Thanks for sharing on Mostly Homemade Mondays! Please join us again tomorrow :)

    Kelli (www.thesustainablecouple.com)

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  9. Thanks for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday - come visit us again tomorrow! I always do my vanilla in those half gallon mason jars - and I still run out!!

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  10. This is great! I've been making my own vanilla extract for about a year and a half now, and I do have a couple of tips. First, the extract needs to be stored in a dark bottle, light destroys it. And second, personally, I didn't like the flavor the vodka imparted to whatever I was using it in, so I have since switched to using white rum. Maybe my taste buds are a little picky lol

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  12. I have always wanted to try this! Thanks so much for sharing with the Let's Get Real party.

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  13. I will try this! When I was in the Caribbean, they used rum and I remember thinking how wonderful it tasted! (and smelled!)

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  14. I really want to try this - thank you for sharing :)

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  15. Thanks for the insight, never knew how this was done before!

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