homemade vanilla extract

Did you get the memo?

The one that says it's December? It mentions something about the holidays... but I can't recall exactly what it said but I do remember reading something about it. I mean it's kind of hard to miss with everyone putting up lights and the stores decked out in their holiday finest.


My tree in the front yard hasn't gotten the memo. Here it is in all it's shiny flaming red glory. There is even green leaves still on it. I can imagine all the other naked trees on the block whispering behind it's back...

What is she thinking?
Doesn't she know, no leaves after Thanksgiving?

Me: I wish that damn tree would drop her leaves already. I'm sick of raking!

So now that we've all gotten the memo, it's the holidays... yada, yada, yada.

Let's bake!

Before we bake we need vanilla extract and lots of it. And vanilla extract, if you haven't noticed can be a little pricey. Well, a lot pricey depending on where and who you buy it from. I'm here to fix that and if you have foodie friends you can make this as a gift. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

What you will need:

vanilla beans, about 4 per bottle
vanilla extract, I know...I know but it's going to be the base.
alcohol: rum, bourbon, or vodka... just make sure it's not flavored.
a bottle with a cap, cork, or seal or if you are making this for yourself a half full bottle of alcohol will do.

Split the beans in half leaving about an inch on the end connected.

{Above is just a picture. I was making something else using vanilla. Don't look at the vanilla behind the curtain.}

Stick the vanilla pods in the bottle.

Then add some vanilla extract to the bottle, about four ounces. A little more a little less, it's okay. Matter of fact you don't even need to add extract if you don't want too. I just do it to help it along.

[give it a few days and the extract will darken considerably]

Then add your alcohol of choice to top off the bottle.

Let it sit for a good month or two and there you go, homemade vanilla extract. Add more beans and alcohol periodically to top off the vanilla. The longer this sits the better. Give it a good shake once and awhile.

(When I say add more beans, I mean use spent pods that you have use for other vanilla recipes... like ice cream or vanilla sugar. Just rinse before placing in the bottle.)

Seriously how hard was that? That's right, it wasn't. A tiny bit of effort and money and you have a gift or your own extract, either way it's cheaper than always going to the store and buying it.

Wrapped up in a tea towel and a piece of pretty ribbon. Don't tell me you wouldn't want this as a gift.


SaintTigerlily said...

Could I put it in a tupperware do you think? Or not tightly sealed enough?

I have two giant sleeves of vanilla from Costco and I could easily use one to make this, saving myself bundles of money on vanilla extract and gifting myself with a profound sense of accomplishment! (I am absurdly enthusiastic today...it is worrying me.)

(Incidentally, my word verification is "Corygyne" which is, I think obviously, the title of the new reality show starring Cories Feldman and Haim in which they become obstetricians that is produced in stop motion animation by the makers of Coraline. Yes? Hollywood?)

(Pay no attention to the crazy lady at the desk. She has had one too many green teas.)

Amy said...

Oh, I LOVE this. I don't have a lot of friends that cook/bake (criminal, right?), so I'm making them almond bark. But I just might make this for me!! Had no idea how easy this was.

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

OK I won't tell you I wouldn't want this, cause I would! I received a big bottle of homemade vanilla a few years ago from a foodie friend. It's still going strong. All I did was replenish the beans and add more vodka. I use mine all the time. Great gift.

Melissa said...

I love making homemade vanilla. And your baked good love you for using homemade vanilla! It tastes so wonderful.

My liquor of choice is cognac.

PS-my tree has just now started to turn colors too.

Eva said...

mmmm i have so many things of vanilla it's kinda ridiculous. I have my cheap vanilla for when vanilla is just a background flavor. Then I have vanilla bean paste for when you want good vanilla. Then I have a couple beans. Then I have probably 5 bottles of different vanilla extracts. however, i've never made my own vanilla extract. maybe I'll try at some point. mmmmm now I want something vanilla-y and sugary.

TKW said...

I'm totally doing this! Cool idea!

And I am jealous of that tenacious tree that won't give in to winter!

Melissa said...

You're hilarious. :)

Hogward said...

Very cool idea to make home made vanilla extract. Thanks for sharing the picture too