Homemade Vanilla Extract
Whether it's to save a bit of money, to enhance your baking experience, or to make a thoughtful handmade gift, there's something special about making homemade vanilla extract. Best of all, to make this easy vanilla extract recipe, all you need is a couple of simple ingredients!
1 half-pint mason jar
- 5 whole vanilla beans
- 1 cup 80 proof alcohol ie. vodka, bourbon, rum, brandy
Wash and sanitize the jar, boiling it for 10 minutes (optional)
Split the vanilla beans in half.
For beautiful flecks of vanilla bean in your extract, scrape the vanilla beans and add the seeds to the jar.
Cut the beans in half (so they'll fit in the jar) and add them to the jar.
Pour the alcohol over the beans, ensuring they're completely submerged (you may need to fiddle with them a bit or add a bit more alcohol).
Close up the jar and shake it up once a week to help speed a long the extraction process. Age for 6 months to a year. When it smells like vanilla instead of alcohol, it's ready to use!
- The type of vanilla beans doesn't matter. Choose from Madagascar Bourbon, Tahitian and Mexican beans, Grade A or Grade B (Grade B beans are less expensive and meant for extracting, however)
- It is important for the vanilla beans to be completely submerged. Beans that are exposed to air may get slimy, mould, and potentially ruin the extract.
- The longer the extract is left to age, the better it will be.
- To save money, you may use as little as 3 beans to one cup of alcohol. You may also use more for a richer, deeper flavour.
- Once the vanilla has aged long enough, the beans can be kept in the alcohol so it can continue to develop flavour.
- For a continuous supply of vanilla extract, top off the jar with more alcohol, although this may dilute the quality over time.
- Old vanilla beans can be reused in a future extract, or dried and used to flavour sugar.