Monday, January 19, 2015

homemade vanilla extract

I had good intentions of making homemade vanilla extract to give away for Christmas this year but a few things happened.
  • It takes longer to make than I planned (I wasn't quite on the ball)
  • It is really good I am not sure how much I can part with maybe one lucky friend will get some...
It may sound way too "martha" of me but once you have made your own you really can't go back to store bought. I personally wouldn't really use this is recipes where the vanilla gets easily overshadowed for example in brownies. Simple recipes like a vanilla butter cream icing or vanilla cake is where this will shine.

What you will need:
1 cup vodka (at least 40% alcohol I used just plain old Smirnoff)
5 whole vanilla beans
1 glass jar with tight sealing lid

How to make: (takes 3 months to be good more time = better extract)

Split your vanilla beans but leave about 1 cm at the ends to keep the bean intact. You want the vodka to be able to get inside the bean and the seeds but hold it's shape if that makes sense. Place beans in the bottom of the glass jar so that they spiral around the bottom you want the vodka to completely cover them.  Pour in the full cup of vodka and poke down any beans that pop up.

Once a week gently shake your jar to keep everything mixed.  It will not resemble extract at all for the first 2 months but a very pale dirt water. After 2 months it starts to darken and really smell like a proper extract. After 3 months is when it should be strong enough to use in baking where the flavour comes through. It is also very sticky after months or swirling your jar will look pretty gross.(ahh see above)

If you are giving it as a gift I would decant what you need for the gift (most extracts are 60ml) cut and place half a bean in the jar and leave the rest to brew, it doesn't go bad. I haven't been able to find a good plain glass bottle to decant any extract into so that is my main excuse for hoarding what I have made!

Overall I am really glad I got around to trying this diy it is one crazy thing that I would 100% make again. Now that I know how long it takes I just will will hopefully plan better so that I never run out.


  1. ooohhh.. this looks interesting!!! :D would be so great for baking!

    Animated Confessions

  2. Wow, wonderful recipe, sounds great. ^^
    Have a nice Friday...