Today was a snow day for me and the pups! A foot of snow overnight meant I was hunkering down in the house and brewing another pot of coffee. Unfortunately, Matt had to go to work, so he spent his early morning hours snow blowing the driveway and shoveling while I made breakfast. Matt bought me A Dog’s Purpose which, if you are a dog lover, is an addictingly good read. I read it last night during the Super Bowl (I told you I wasn’t that into football!) and finished it this morning. It is a tear jerker at points and made me cuddle the dogs close more than once. Seriously such a good book that you can’t put down. Sorry about going on about it, but I am still all full of emotion from it, haha. Anyways, after I snuggled the dogs for a long time, I got going on this awesome homemade vanilla extract.
We made our first batch of homemade vanilla extract maybe 2 years ago and gave it to everyone as gifts that upcoming Christmas. Reasons to make your own vanilla extract:
- Have you ever looked at the price of a teeny tiny bottle of extract at the store?!!?
- Getting fresh vanilla beans is fun!
- Vodka is involved!
are you excited yet?
Now, do not go to your grocery store and spend ten dollars on 2 shriveled, lifeless beans sitting in a little glass jar. They are waaayyyy over priced!! Not to mention probably super old because who is going to spend 10 bucks on 2 beans? There are a lot of awesome resources to buy vanilla beans online for a much reasonable price. We use www.beanilla.com and have loved the quality of the beans and the reasonable price. We normally buy the package of 25 beans which gives us lots of beans to play with.
The first step in making vanilla extract is slitting open your beans. This lets out all of the vanilla-ey goodness. Take a sharp knife and slice right down the center of your beans. You don’t have to cut the beans in half totally, just open them up until you see the dark, pasty insides.
You need a glass bottle with an airtight seal on it. I love clear glass bottles for this because you can see when your extract begins to darken. Put in your sliced beans, you need 7 to 8 beans per cup of vodka. Shake it up and put it in a cool, dark place. Every once in a while, go in and give it a shake. In about 2 months, your vanilla extract will be dark and ready to rock and roll. The vanilla extract on the left is almost ready to use compared to the newly created extract on the right.
As hard as it may sound, keep your vodka around. Once you begin baking with your vanilla extract, you can continually top off your jar of extract with vodka. You can do this for quite a while before you begin to notice the extract just isn’t darkening like it used to. I normally top mine off every time the beans begin to stick out above the vodka.
- 1 cup vodka
- 7 to 8 vanilla beans, sliced open
- Slice the vanilla beans open (showing the dark, pasty insides)
- Put vanilla beans into your jar
- Add vodka
- Shake up and store in a cool, dark place
- Shake once or twice a week for about 2 months
- After 2 months, the extract is ready to use
- Continue to top off extract with vodka once it begins to run low. Add vanilla beans as needed to maintain flavor/color
- Store unused vanilla beans in an airtight, glass container in a cool, dark place