Last Spring, my daughter brought back a “home brewed” bottle of vanilla extract she bought for a couple of dollars in Mexico. It was a big bottle that should last me over a year. And it tastes SOOOO much better than the little bottles of vanilla you buy in the grocery store.
That got me to thinking about making my own vanilla. I never want to go back to that bland store bought vanilla again. So I did a little research and found out it’s really easy to make your own vanilla. And you only need 3 things: Bottles, Vanilla Beans and Vodka. As for tools, you will need a small kitchen knife (preferably a paring knife) and a funnel.
As for bottles, the dark colored kind are the best to use. I got these off of Amazon. They are the 4 ounce kind and I bought 10.
I also got the vanilla beans from Amazon too. I bought a package of 10 Tahitian vanilla beans but they sent me 11! You can find a lot of different kinds of vanilla beans, amounts and price points on Amazon.
I bought the Vodka at the local ABC store. I told the clerk what I needed it for and she showed me the kind best used for making vanilla.
I decided to make these not only for myself but for little gifts to give people at Christmas. I plan to give one to both of my daughters, my next door neighbor, my sister and 3 friends.And I may wrap one or two up as last minute gifts if needed. I plan on putting a little label on each bottle and since I can do calligraphy, I will hand letter the word “Vanilla Extract” on the label. Then I’ll probably add a pretty ribbon to it.
Okay, on to how easy it is to make this:
- Take a vanilla bean and split it down the middle length wise but stop before you get to the end of the bean.
- Then put the bean into your bottle. I had to bend mine in half to get them to fit into the bottle.
- Now pour in your Vodka and cap the bottle.
- Store the bottles in a dark place. I boxed mine back up and put them on a shelf.
- You can shake them up lightly every few weeks if you think about it.
- After 2 months, the vanilla can be used. But it will keep on “extracting” for up to 6 months.
So what did this cost me?
Bottles were $1.55 a piece or $15.50 for all 10 bottles.
Vanilla Beans were $8.50 for 10 beans.
Vodka was $12 for a large bottle. I still have about 1/3 left of the Vodka.
So the total for everything is $36.00 or $3.60 for a 4 ounce bottle of Vanilla. Still cheaper than the grocery store brand and I bet it will taste a whole lot better! I’ll report back in a few months and let you see the finished product. I plan on using the vanilla in something before I give it to others, just to make sure it tastes alright.
The good thing about vanilla extract, is it won’t go bad on you. It can last for years although if my vanilla turns out as good as the kind my daughter gave me, it sure won’t last in my house that long!