After tiring of paying through the nose to buy vanilla extract for all of my baking needs, I decided to invest in the process up front and make my own. It’s quite easy, and the taste can’t be beat!
Here’s what you need:
Sanitized jars that can be sealed well.
Fresh Vanilla Beans 6 per pint-sized jar is fine. Just remember, the more vanilla beans you have, the stronger your extract will be.
Your Choice of Vodka, 1.75mL worth – I used Skol because I have no idea what type of Vodka is “good” vodka. No, really, I’m totally an alcohol novice. You could give me gin, and tell me it’s vodka (I just learned that they are the same color while on my trip to the grocery store) and I’d skip happily away. Don’t judge me.
Take your paring knife and slice the vanilla bean from tip to tip. You don’t want to slice through to the other side, but you do want the skin to open up to reveal the seedy part. It’s going to look like dirt. Seriously.
Put the beans into the mason jar.
Put the lid on the jar.
Screw it on.
Store these in a cool dark place and give them a shake every couple of weeks. You can let these sit for as long as you want – of course, the vanilla flavor will steep more the longer you wait. I plan to give these out as Christmas presents to the bakers in my family. Easy peasy,and quite easy on the wallet. PLUS – you’re getting WAY more than you do in those two-ounce deals in the grocery store. How ‘bout them apples?!
Came back to add – after the extract has gotten to the strength that you desire, strain it into a dark bottle with cheesecloth (to catch the vanilla beans) – decorate it with a label, and voila! Your very own homemade vanilla extract.