Get a head start on your holiday baking and gifting with Homemade Vanilla Extract!
It comes together in five minutes and is ready to use in two months, improving as it ages.
I’m sharing an easy DIY and gift in anticipation of holiday baking,
Homemade Vanilla Extract!
While it comes together in five minutes, it takes a minimum of two months for the
flavor to develop so you can start now and have it ready for baking and gifting in December.
Homemade vanilla extract will have the same great, if not better flavor, and
you can make it for less than half of the $5 an ounce price at the grocery store!
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To make homemade vanilla extract you’ll need two ingredients, vanilla beans and vodka.
There are three main varieties of vanilla beans, Madagascar, Tahitian and Mexican.
Madagascar vanilla beans are processed using the “Bourbon” curing method
and known for their sweet sweet, creamy characteristics. Tahitian vanilla is
more floral and fruity and Mexican vanilla has a spicy-sweet flavor.
Vanilla beans are graded “A” and “B”. Grade A beans are best for baking and have a higher moisture
content, while grade B beans are more concentrated and better suited for extract.
To make my extract, I used Grade B Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans.
To make your extract you’ll want to use 5 – 6 beans per 8 oz. of vodka.
My package had 10 beans so I used 5 per 8 oz. jar. You don’t need top shelf vodka
to make vanilla, use a mid-range brand that you would drink that’s 70 to 90 proof.
Split your beans with a knife or cut with kitchen shears so the vanilla caviar / seeds are exposed.
I like the look of the beans whole, but you can cut your beans into smaller
pieces to help them release more seeds and steep and more quickly if you prefer.
Make sure to add any seeds / caviar stuck to knife or scissors to your jars, that’s the good part!
Place your beans in your jars and add the vodka to cover completely,
cutting beans as necessary so they’re completely submerged.
You’ll want a bottle that has a leak proof, airtight seal,
When your beans are completely covered, close your jars and give them a shake.
Store your vanilla at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
Shake a couple of times a week initially or once a day if you can remember
as the seeds will settle to the bottom.
Alternatively you can steep your beans in a large mason jar.
Add 10 – 12 beans to a jar, cover with 16 oz. vodka.
Cut the beans down to size so they’re completely submerged in the vodka.
After two months, use a funnel to transfer vanilla to gift bottles.
You’ll find links to different size bottles at the bottom of this post.
Now the fun part, decorating the bottles for gifts!
I picked some ribbon at Hobby Lobby, along with a miniature Christmas tree topper.
All Hobby Lobby’s Christmas merchandise is 40% off.
I threaded the end of the coil of the tree topper through the end of the latch,
spinning it to catch the other end of the latch to secure it to the top of the bottle,
and tied on a ‘Merry Christmas With Love’ tag.
The longer the vanilla steeps, the better the flavor!
This is the gift that keeps on giving, here’s a fun tip:
As you use your vanilla, top off your bottle with more vodka and give it a shake.
Unused aged vanilla extract (with the beans fully submerged) will last several years.
Once you begin using the vanilla and adding more alcohol after each use,
the beans will eventually need to be replaced.
Remove the old beans, add fresh ones, shake, and continue to use/refill.
Aged extract, without beans, will last indefinitely.
Vanilla extract is most commonly made with vodka, but you can also use bourbon, rum or brandy.
The photo below is how the vanilla looks after 6 months of steeping,
with the color and flavor deepening and intensifying!
My 750 ml bottle of vodka was $13 and my vanilla beans were $15 so the
cost of 16 oz. of vanilla extract was $1.75 an ounce and I have 9 oz. of vodka
left, plenty for mixing some
Rudolph’s Concentrated Christmas Mischief Cocktails in December.
Happy Extracting and Baking!
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