Sunday, October 30, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ok, this is it - the first post. Despite creating this blog (don't you love the name!) almost a year ago, I have yet to write or post anything. I guess you could say I'm scared of commitment, of having one more thing to do, of putting myself and my writing abilities out there. Yet, I want to share my recipes, patterns, and projects with the world. I am excited and inspired by the idea of it all.

So, here I go.

I originally meant for my first post to be for butterbeer cupcakes. However, those will have to be featured at some other point in time because I started a big project this weekend - making homemade vanilla.

Sounds daunting, right? Luckily, it isn't! In fact, making vanilla extract will be one of the easiest things you'll ever do. Here's what you need:

3 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka
1 glass mason jar

I ordered my vanilla beans from Olive Nation. I can endorse the good reviews the company has received. The beans were very reasonably priced and arrived at my house in a matter of days. The vacuum-packed Madagascar Bourbon beans that I ordered smelled amazing and were moist and plump. The half pound I ordered might have been a bit of an overkill, but I wanted enough to fill all 30 of the vials I plan to give out as Christmas gifts. Plus, who can resist homemade vanilla bean ice cream? I certainly can't...

Once you have the beans, it's time for the "work." Leaving an inch connected at the top, cut each bean in half lengthwise. Put the split beans in your sterilized mason jar, cover with vodka, and you are done. Seriously.

Of course, you will need to store your concoction in a cool, dark place and shake it every once and a while. Other than that, all you need to do is wait. In 8 weeks, you will have your own homemade vanilla extract!


Congratulations! After about 6 weeks in a dark space, your vanilla extract is close to being done! While the extract would be okay to use at this point, a few more weeks would deeper both the color and flavor of the vanilla. Either way, do not expect your vanilla to get as dark as store-bought kinds. Most of the time, both color and sugar are added to the extract (and you don't need those, do you?).