Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Have you ever noticed how ridiculously expensive vanilla extract is?? You could easily pay $7 or $8 for an 8 oz. bottle. And since I bake so much, this adds up really fast. So, I am excited to say that I recently just started my first batch of homemade vanilla! It has been on my "to do" list for well over a year. A major "thank you" to my dad for going and buying me the vodka for the occasion. I just couldn't bring myself to do it! Somehow I thought it might look a bit...odd for a Amishy looking lady to be walking out of a store with a half gallon of vodka. Or is that just me??

What you will need:

- A half gallon jar
- half a gallon of vodka, mine was 1.75 liters, which didn't quite go all the way to the top. So if wanted to you could buy another smaller bottle. (the cheap stuff works just as well.)
- about 40 vanilla beans (I ordered a 1/2 lb. from Olive Nation. Which was a little more than I needed.)

To start out cut each vanilla bean down the middle leaving about an inch still connected at the top. I got my 7 year old to help me with this process and it took no time at all.

Please ignore the super wrinkly hands in this picture. John has given me the affectionate nickname of "Gorilla Hands" because well, mayhaps, my hands are a little wrinkly....

Now stuff all those vanilla beans into your jar...

Pour in the vodka.

Slap a lid on it and put it in a dark place (I put mine in a cabinet I hardly use). Leave it there for 4-6 months. Your patience will be rewarded! I have seen some tutorials that say only one month but that is not long enough. It will be a much weaker dose than letting it soak longer. The longer it soaks = a stronger batch. You want to take it out every month or so and give it a good shake. Then place it back in it's spot to stew some more.

Once the six months is up, strain your extract through a coffee filter and colander, bottle it in dark amber bottles, and you've got yourself some vanilla extract!

I'm planning on buying my 8 oz. bottles from Mountain Rose Herbs. And John has told me he'd make me some cute little labels to go on them.

Label these with some personalized labels, tie a ribbon around the top and this would definitely be a really fun gift to give to a hostess or a new neighbor along with some cookies.

So, what do you think? Anyone else going to try it?


simply His home said...

Hi Amanda! What a neat idea! I hate to buy vanilla extract because of the price! I am so going to try this! It's funny...I love to home make things, and sometimes it surprises me what I hadn't thought of! Thanks for the tutorial. Just a side note...I stumbled on your blog quite a while ago and I really enjoy it! I always look forward to new posts! Blessings on you and your family!

Leah said...

That's awesome! Will you be sending me a little sample when the time is right? :) I'm sure it will be delicious!

Heather said...

Like most things I'm sure this vanilla is a lot healthier than store bought also. I would love to try it too! Thanks for the links on where to buy the vanilla beans and jars, that's one of those little "details" that would have held me back!

Anonymous said...

I use this same process for making my own herbal extracts. It makes them CHEEP and they are so easy to make. And my hubby goes to the liquor store (in the next town over) to get the liquor! :):):) Same reason:):)

Steve, Amanda, Kyle & Owen said...

So exciting! I can't wait to try this! Thank you so much for sharing, really the process seems simple enough. Once you are done though do you have to store it in amber bottles or can they be clear?

Amanda said...

Amanda- most people recommend amber bottles. I think it has something to do with light effecting the extract.

Erica said...

Since we live in the land of vodka abundance and no vanilla to purchase at the store this is what we do. Only we only use3-5 beans per liter, set it in a dark place for about 3 months and you've got some yummy vanilla. I don't take out the beans, but our teammates usually do.

Marie said...

This is a great idea. I can't wait to see how it turns out! I didn't want to my buy my dad wine for his birthday because I thought it might look weird for a pregnant woman to be in there buying wine.

Lol. I am picturing us going in there together. Now that is funny!