Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you’ve spent much time at all in the kitchen, you understand how essential good-quality vanilla is to the outcome of your desserts.  The problem is, REALLY good vanilla is also REALLY expensive.  Even the grocery-store options are relatively expensive, and they don’t even compare to the good stuff.  To buy a bottle of top-quality vanilla, you’re going to spend nearly $20, and if you do a lot of baking, that’s quite an investment!

So, as you can imagine, I was overjoyed to find this recipe.  And I have to say that it’s far superior to any vanilla I’ve ever used before.  It has a deeper flavor, a stronger aroma and it’s definitely less expensive! 

You do have to have patience to get started, as the final product takes about 8 weeks to develop.  I started with one batch, but now have two more going in my pantry.  I used a mid-priced vodka (Svedka) and purchased my vanilla beans from Amazon.com (here) for a much more economical price than buying them in the grocery store or a specialty store.  I chose Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla beans and was very happy with the final results. 

 A recycled mason jar and canning lid made the perfect storage container, I just wrote the “start date” on the lid so I could keep track of the vanilla’s progress.  At first, when I would open the container, all I could smell was vodka.  Then after a few weeks, it smelled like raisins.  It wasn’t until week number eight that it actually smelled like vanilla.  So, so worth the wait.

I strained the final product and put it in a pretty jar, but you don’t have to.  After you use some, you can just top it off with more vodka so you’ll have a never-ending supply of vanilla.  If you have leftover vanilla beans or empty pods, just throw those in your jar to strengthen the flavor even more.

This would be a great gift idea for the holidays, especially if you have a bunch of extra vanilla beans in your pantry (which you tend to if you buy 54 beans at a time…)

Hope you’ll try this one!  Enjoy!

1 cup good quality vodka
6 vanilla beans, halved

Cut the vanilla beans in half.  Place them in a 1 quart mason jar, and add vodka.  Store for 8-12 weeks or until vodka smell is replaced with vanilla smell.

As you have them available, add more vanilla beans to your vodka mixture.  Replace used vanilla with vodka to keep your supply fresh.

Recipe courtesy of The Comfort of Cooking

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06061208538689914487 Annika

    Love the smell of vanilla! I just made some myself recently, but gave it to a friend. I’ll have to ask her how it’s coming along!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04767349484149756778 larasursa

    I think I will have to make a smaller batch next time-yours looks so yummy and will be done so much quicker!

  • Lou Ann Walker

    I started my batch about two weeks ago and it already smells like vanilla! I can’t wait to give it a try!! Thank you!