How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
This is one of my favorite gifts to give for the holidays. Also, you can get your children to help!
It’s super simple and tastes better than store-bought! I use it in my homemade pancakes, vanilla simple syrup, granola, or any recipe that calls for vanilla extract.
Here is what you need to complete this project:
- 6 vanilla beans (I bought mine from Etsy, but you can get a tube at Costco for a reasonable price or on Amazon)
- 3/4 – 1 cup vodka (you can also use brandy if you want!) Do not use the good stuff here. Make sure it is at least 70 proof.
- clean jar or bottle with a top – I bought $1.00 mini wine bottles and cleaned them out.
- 1 – cup measuring cup
- ribbon/decoration for the bottle
- tags FREE TAGS- Homemade Vanilla Extract
- Split the vanilla beans: Split each vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Make sure to use at least 6 per 1 cup of alcohol. I only used 5 as I am using 3/4 cup of alcohol. You split the beans so that the extraction process can happen more quickly and the alcohol can get to the yummy vanilla bean seeds inside.
- Place the vanilla beans in a jar and cover them with alcohol: Place the vanilla beans in a clean jar or bottle. Cover them with alcohol, making sure they are completely submerged. Cover the jar or bottle and give it a good shake. You may notice that there are vanilla seeds floating in the jar, that is OK. I reused small single wine bottles I found at my local grocery store. They are a nice size and have a good screw top. I actually put my extract in the bottle that I am giving away so that it is easier once it is complete. You can use whatever jar you want though!
- Infuse for at least six weeks: Store the jar or bottle of vanilla beans in a cool, dark place for at least six weeks, shaking it from time to time. I shook the jar once a week. The longer it extracts the better but 6 weeks is enough time for it to be used. If you are really close to the gift-giving day, that is OK. Just put a note of when the Extract will be ready to use. Either on the tag, handwritten or on the card. It will work as an extract for about 4 weeks, 6 weeks is enough and 8 weeks is awesome!
- Leave the pods in the extract: You can also leave the beans in the alcohol and top off the bottle as you use the extract. This is a great way for the gift to keep on giving. I would make sure to put it with the card when you give it. The rule is that once the bottle is about 1/2 to 1/3 remaining, add 70 proof vodka (or brandy if that is what you used) and shake it. Allow it a few weeks to re-extract before using. It is a super simple, but MUCH appreciated homemade gift. Below is what the bottles I am going to give as gifts will look like.
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Looking for a couple ideas on how to use your homemade Vanilla Extract? This is the perfect thing for the coffee/latte lover in your life. You can use this lovely extract to make Vanilla Simple Syrup. The same stuff (but tastier!) that Starbucks charges an arm and a let for can be made at home. Try making your own coffee syrups with the Homemade Vanilla Extract.