It’s not hard to find a homemade vanilla recipe out there, especially on Pinterest, but I wanted to not only show you how to do it, but why you should do it and where to find the supplies.
1. First of all, homemade vanilla makes an excellent gift. You may think it’s too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts, but vanilla needs to sit for several months. So now is the perfect time to start thinking ahead.
2. It tastes better. Store-bought imitation vanilla extract doesn’t actually contain any real vanilla. If you’re baking something simple, like shortbread cookies for example, great vanilla is essential.
3. It’s cheaper. An 8 oz. bottle of store-bought pure vanilla will run you about $20. Making it yourself costs about $3.47. Come on! That’s even cheaper than 8 oz. of crap artificial vanilla!
You need 3 things:
Get a pot of water boiling.
With tongs, carefully fill each bottle with boiling water…
And then dump the water out. Since this is going to be sitting for several months, we want to make sure there’s nothing funky whatsoever inside these bottles. Set the bottles aside upside down so any remaining water will fall out.
Cut open your vanilla beans right down the middle with a sharp knife.
Carefully, with your knife, scrape out the seeds from each side.
Put the vanilla bean seeds and the beans, folded in half, inside the bottle. You’ll probably want at least 3 beans per 8 ounces of vodka.
Since I need this vanilla to be usable in the near future, I wanted to boost the vanilla extraction process. My theory is that a warmed up vodka would help give this process a boost. So, I took the cap off of the glass vodka bottles and placed them in the hot water that was already prepared on the stove for about 5-7 minutes. Don’t boil the vodka.
Make sure your bottles are ready to roll.
Mmmm that’s pretty.
With a funnel, carefully pour the vodka in the jars. You may need to use a towel or oven mit if your vodka bottles are too hot to handle.
As you can see, within just a few minutes, the vodka was already turning colors. If the vodka was cold, I don’t believe it would have happened this quickly. Thus, I’m sticking by my theory that warm vodka gets the process going more quickly.
You can let them cool for a few minutes, or just put the lids on immediately if the vodka’s not too hot.
Since I’m selling these at an upcoming festival, I went ahead and put them right back in the box that the bottles came in, closed it, and stored it in a cool, dry place. Every few days I’ll shake each bottle to help the extraction process. Or, at least, I’ll feel like I’m contributing and get to look at the pretty jars.
This is how much vanilla beans I had left! I was able to buy bulk Vanilla Beans, which only cost about $.35 per bean! Guys, last Christmas I bought ONE vanilla bean for $9 at the grocery store! Bulk is better.
If you end up making 12 bottles to sell or for presents like I did, and if you buy 3 liters of vodka, you should have a little left over for yourself. Easiest gift ever!
Now, this vanilla should technically be usable in about 2 months. But ideally, letting it sit for 5-6 months will give you the best, most potent flavor. So start now and you’ll be happy by the time Christmas rolls around–whether for baking or for gifts!
- 8 oz. Vodka – $2.42
- 3 Beans – $1.05
- Total – $3.47 each