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Monday, November 2, 2009

DIY Vanilla extract

For those who love to bake, you obviously consume a fair amount of vanilla extract. Lots of expensive, small bottles coming and going. Have you ever thought of making your own? It is easier than you may think and although costly, is far less expensive and far superior to the bottles you purchase. The quality of Vanilla extract available to purchase varies from exceptional to awful, the difference being the quality of the beans and the alcohol. The same theory applies to what you produce yourself, the higher the quality of the ingredients produces a higher quality result.

What a wonderful present to offer your friends who love to bake.

You need 3 things to make your own vanilla extract
about 100 vanilla beans
1 gallon vodka
1 gallon glass container

Vanilla beans are expensive yet they are one of the greatest culinary pleasures on the planet, providing one of the most delightful aromas and gorgeous flavors imaginable. Difficult to grow, the pods of this orchid are prized for their beans within.
One can purchase online, "seconds" of vanilla beans. These are beans that are defected in looks but with the right distributor, you will get fresh, flavorful and aromatic beans at a much discounted price. For the vodka, the results of your extract will be a sum of the 2 ingredients, so, like wine in a sauce, never use something you would not want to drink.
There are different kinds of beans and each has a different flavor and aroma. I like to combine Madagascar, Tahitian and Mexican beans together; Tahitian providing the most aroma, while the other two varieties are more flavorful.

To prepare your vanilla extract follow these simple directions.
Split the beans.
Sterilize the glass containers. Fill the container with the beans, add alcohol and seal the container closed. Keep in cool, dark place for 1 year. Shake the container regularly, however, never open it. After 1 year, filter out the solid parts and let the extract sit for one month to mature. Then it is ready to use.

Alcohol extracts or tinctures have been used by a wide variety of cultures to extract nutritional/medicinal value as well as flavor from roots, herbs and other organic matter.

Depending on how much you use and give away, start different batches at different times so you always have vanilla to use.


  1. Excellent post! I have been making homemade vanilla extract for years. You simply can not beat the overall price savings and quality of homemade extract!

    Early last year I found a company that sells 8 different types of gourmet grade vanilla beans. The company is called Beanilla Trading Company. They can be found at I recently bought 1 pound of beans for only $56.00.... which is roughly 110 vanilla beans. My current favorites are their Indian and Organic Indonesian vanilla beans. Beanilla's Madagascar vanilla beans are also very very good. For the holiday's I am going to give 2 four ounce bottles of different types of vanilla extract to my friends ;-)

    Hope this helps! Happy cooking to all.