Homemade Vanilla Extract: Part 1

A few months back, a friend of mine became very excited about vanilla beans and sent me a link with instructions for making vanilla extract. I decided immediately that I would have to make it.

If you’re a fellow baker, then you already know how often vanilla extract is called for in recipes and how expensive it is to buy the pure stuff. So of course I loved the idea of making my own, not only in the name of frugality but also just because, why the hell not? I want to see if it works!

After weeks of procrastination, I finally got my ass to the grocery store and shelled out the money for real vanilla beans (I got two of them for $4.79 at Bulk Barn) and then over to the friendly neighbourhood LCBO to grab a bottle of vodka. The only other thing needed is a clean glass jar, which I have plenty on hand.

The beans aren’t quite what I expected. I thought they would be hard and brittle, but instead they are soft and malleable, almost resin-like. This makes it easy to split them down the middle, leaving the ends intact. Next, fit them inside a glass jar to cover with alcohol. The recipe calls for 3 beans and 1 cup of vodka, but I only had 2 beans so I just used 3/4 cup of vodka instead. That should be okay.

Vanilla pod infused vodka: day 1

After one night of sitting in the cupboard, the vodka already has an amber tinge. It needs to sit for at least 2 months before it is ready to use, so I’ll provide an update at the halfway mark and again when it is completed.

**UPDATE Available here!**

I’m really excited to see if it works. Has anyone else made their own extracts?

Homemade Vanilla Extract on FoodistaHomemade Vanilla Extract

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12 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Extract: Part 1

  1. Looks lovely, post an update when it’s done on how it turns out!

  2. Thank you! I surely will 🙂

  3. I found you from the foodie blog roll and I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this vanilla bean widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about vanilla recipes,thanks!

    • Cool thanks! I’m glad to know about your site now. I didn’t get a chance to read much of it yet but I’ll be browsing it again later!

  4. Good idea! And even if it doesn’t work, you can console yourself by drinking the vodka. 🙂

    • @ thepurpledog: Thanks! That’s what I was thinking when I picked up the vodka haha

      @ teaandyarn: Are you going to try making some too? I also can’t wait to see if it turns out 🙂

      • I will if yours turns out well! Vodka is an expense I don’t have wiggle room in the budget for unless I actually have something I can use it for.

        • Oh yes it took me a while to work the vodka into my budget. Thankfully it is also useful in things like vodka pasta sauce. Yum.

  5. I’ve wondered if it was possible to make your own vanilla extract, but hadn’t bothered to look for instructions anywhere yet. I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

  6. I’ve made my own about four years ago using a large bottle of rum and I add a new vanilla pod roughly every 4 months. Sometimes I just open the bottle so I can smell the divine smell…

    My advice would be to start a large bottle as well as your small one and add vanilla pods over time and let it age… this becomes really concentrated in flavour and you’ll never ever want to go back to commercial vanilla extract ever again 🙂

    p.s. .. little mini bottles of your concentrated extract make brilliant Christmas gifts too !

    • That’s a great idea! maybe next christmas I can do that, or just randomly surprise people with it. What type of rum did you use? How many pods did you add when you first start the bottle? I’m imagining people coming over and trying to drink my vanilla extract lol

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