Vanilla Extract From Scratch

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Vanilla Extract is the most used extract in my kitchen and I would imagine in yours. Today I am sharing how I make Vanilla Extract From Scratch.

vanilla extract in a mason jar sitting on a white background with a red and white tea towel

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I have a procrastination issue. It’s an annoying quality of mine but one I have nonetheless. I have been wanting to make my own vanilla extract from scratch for a while now but since I cannot find a vanilla beans locally (unless I want to pay $12.00 for one bean and I needed about 10), I just kept putting it off. I even bought vodka that has been sitting in the pantry for months, just for this and still did not order any vanilla beans.

Until now when I realized it was almost August which meant Fall and Winter baking was only a few months away and after going through an entire bottle of vanilla just last week, I did not want to be constantly running out of vanilla during baking season. Or spending so much money on it! So in my true fashion after waiting months, I decided to do it all at once plunging in head first and ordered both vanilla beans and almonds (for almond extract).

open mason jar of homeade vanilla extract wrapped in red and white tea towel

Y’all, this is literally the easiest thing to make. I paid $12.00 for the beans and probably $6.00 for the vodka so $18.00 total. Maybe that seems expensive, but that gave me a quart of vanilla to start. As you remove vanilla from the jar, you add more vodka to the same beans so I will get multiple uses out of the same vanilla beans. And if I had purchased a quarts worth of the -cheap- vanilla I buy at the store, I would be paying almost $100.00! Now, I did use cheap vodka and due to my other fashion of wanting to source the healthiest ingredients, I will be looking into a better quality vodka, but even still, the margins for those cost savings just cannot be beat.

Something else to be said is that there is no fighting over vanilla during holidays. Fighting may be a strong word but it is one less thing to scoot down crowded aisles just to find they are out of vanilla. I have had issues with watching someone else take the last of the spices I need during a Thanksgiving trip so one less item to worry about the better!

up close shot of a mason jar filled with vanilla beans and homemade vanilla extract from scratch

Watch: Vanilla Extract From Scratch

What You’ll Need For Vanilla Extract From Scratch

Tools

Jar or Bottle with Lid
I used a quart mason jar but you could even just use the bottle that the vodka comes in if you want.

Knife or Scissors
For slicing and cutting the vanilla beans

Ingredients

About 10 Vanilla Beans
I used Grade A but I believe Grade B are recommended for extracts.

Vodka

How To Make Vanilla Extract From Scratch

Slice Vanilla Beans

The first step I took was to slice my vanilla beans. I cut them in half lengthwise and then sliced them up the center, leaving about a quarter of an inch at the very end. This made them a wish bone shape. You could also chop them up or just slice them down the center.

Add Vodka

I then added the vanilla beans to my quart size jar and filled the jar with my vodka.

Shake and Store

I gave the soon to be vanilla a good shake and then stored it in our dark pantry.

The first day that I made this, the vodka smelled very strong but by the next day, the vanilla beans had overtaken and were stronger smelling than the actual vodka.

To Use

Once the vanilla is dark in color and has no scent of alcohol, it should be ready to use. The vanilla bean package I bought says it is ready after one month but I have heard many say to wait at least 3 months. And it just gets better with time! I am hoping to be able to use it for my fall and winter baking this year!

FAQ

Is Making Your Own Vanilla Extract Worth It?

To me, definitely! Cleaner ingredients that I can pick and choose what goes in, bulk batches to keep on hand, and the frugality of it are just some of the reasons it is worth it. But I also love to make things from scratch or by hand regardless so this is just icing on the cake.

To some though, it is not. Some claim it is not cheaper (however, I have done the math for what I buy normally which is not even the most expensive or name brand) and it is significantly cheaper.

How Long Does It Take To Make Vanilla Extract At Home?

It could take 1 month up to 6 months to make your first batch. It really depends on the beans you use and how much you make at once. After that first batch though, you can add vodka to the existing batch when you take some out and keep replenishing it that way.

How Many Times Can You Reuse Vanilla Beans To Make Extract?

Several times! Vanilla beans have so much flavor that you can replace any extract you remove from your batch for use with more vodka. The reason I would change them out is if your extract starts to lose some flavor or gets lighter in color.

Is Grade A or B Better For Vanilla Extract?

Grade A seems to be the better choice for anything but for something like extract, you can easily get away with Grade B. I would just compare the cost and go from there!

What Is The Best Alcohol To Use For Vanilla Extract?

80 proof vodka. Now, many will tell you to just use cheap vodka and if the ingredients you use aren’t an issue for you, then go for it. I did for my first batch. But after considering why I am making vanilla extract from scratch and one reason being to control the quality of ingredients in it, I will be sourcing a higher quality vodka from here on out.

Does Homemade Vanilla Extract Expire?

Pure vanilla extract has a very long shelf life and doesn’t normally go bad. The main consideration is not that it will go bad but that the flavor will diminish over time so it is best to use it within a few years.

homemade vanilla extract with white lid wrapped in red and white tea towel

Do you make your own vanilla? What other extracts have you tried making at home?

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Vanilla Extract From Scratch

Vanilla Extract From Scratch

Vanilla Extract is the most used extract in my kitchen and I would imagine in yours. Today I am sharing how I make Vanilla Extract From Scratch.

Ingredients

  • 10 Vanilla Beans (Grade A or B)
  • Vodka
  • Quart Mason Jar With Lid

Instructions

    Slice Vanilla Beans



    The first step I took was to slice my vanilla beans. I cut them in half lengthwise and then sliced them up the center, leaving about a quarter of an inch at the very end. This made them a wish bone shape. You could also chop them up or just slice them down the center.



    Add Vodka



    I then added the vanilla beans to my quart size jar and filled the jar with my vodka.



    Shake and Store



    I gave the soon to be vanilla a good shake and then stored it in our dark pantry.



    The first day that I made this, the vodka smelled very strong but by the next day, the vanilla beans had overtaken and were stronger smelling than the actual vodka.



    To Use



    Once the vanilla is dark in color and has no scent of alcohol, it should be ready to use. The vanilla bean package I bought says it is ready after one month but I have heard many say to wait at least 3 months. And it just gets better with time! I am hoping to be able to use it for my fall and winter baking this year!

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