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?