Monday, November 16, 2009

Vanilla Extract Project

After sitting on this idea for several months, I finally decided to start my Vanilla Extract Project a.k.a. homemade vanilla extract. I read a lot of variations on the recipe so I just kind of... meshed them together. Here's my version!

Step 1: Round up your supplies.
Supplies (left to right, clockwise):
  • Measuring cup - actually, this was just for making pouring easier. I didn't measure the exact amount that went into each bottle but they held about half a cup of liquid.
  • Funnel - unless you're extremely patient and have excellent hand-eye coordination, you need this for pouring. I am not.
  • Alcohol - I used vodka but I read that rum and gin were also popular choices. I chose Belvedere because a State guy once swore by it while making fun of Grey Goose. (And we all know those SDSU kids know their alcohol. =P)
  • Vanilla Beans - I got Rodelle vanilla beans from Costco, which come in these 2-pack fancy glass containers of 5 each. (10 beans, for I believe $12.something.) These beans were okay but I liked the organic ones I got from the food co-op better, so next time I will probably not get the Costco ones again.
  • Vinegar/Oil bottles - I got mine at Michael's crafts... Sorry I don't remember the exact price but they are definitely reasonable, plus it comes with the cork.
  • Cutting board and knife - self-explanatory.
Step 2: Cut your vanilla beans length-wise.

(I had no idea this was vanilla looked like before I did my first vanilla project... I bet you never knew vanilla beans were really just the little tiny black specks in your vanilla ice cream. Vanilla not looking so bland anymore, is it?)

Step 3: Use one vanilla bean per bottle and carefully pour the vodka in each one. Pour slow! You don't want to spill a bunch of vodka like I did. =(

Step 4: Cork your bottles tightly and store in a cool, dark place out of sunlight. The proportion I used is 1/2 cup vodka to 1 vanilla bean, so according to the websites I read, this will be ready to use in about 8 weeks.

The vodka started changing color less than 5 minutes after I finished corking them all. You can see a slight yellowish tinge in these pictures. Since the liquid is less in these bottles, it will be stronger extract. For a weaker extract, use 1 cup of liquid or just half of a bean. It will be a very dark brown when it's ready to use.

Have you ever made vanilla extract? How was it?


  1. i've never made it but it looks super easy. Maybe i should try it

  2. I've never tried, but this sounds like something my mom would do.

  3. I should do that next year to give to my SIL's and my Mom and MIL. They ALL bake a ton and vanilla is a staple. ;)

  4. This sounds awesome - vanilla extract is definitely a staple for all bakers. Great idea, girl!


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