DIY Vanilla Extract

Posted 4 years ago

Making your own Vanilla Extract is not only easy, and fun but it seriously impresses your friends and family. Down side, it takes time, and is more expensive than the fake stuff, or cheap grocery store stuff, but the result is a really rich high quality extract that you will adore. Its kinda one of those things you will think about to yourself, geeze why did I not do this before???  Because this takes 3 months to make the good stuff start now for Christmas! 

You will need some Mason jars with lids, a big ass bottle of Vodka (or apparently Burbon works), some good quality vanilla beans, bottles, funnel, cheese cloth, labels.

This is exponentially cheaper for Americans with their cheap alcohol  as a Canadian its kind expensive. Luckily my parents traveled to the states and picked me up a big bottle of cheap stuff. Quality of Vodka does not affect quality of extract. All the recipes I read worked on were recommending 2-3 beans per cup of vodka. the more beans you have the shorter time it takes, but the less beans and more time, the cheaper it will be. My jars were 1 L (4 Cups) which SHOULD mean 12 beans but that seemed excessive so I used around 9 large beans and gave it over 3 months so its extra good! 
First take your quality beans and cut it length ways down the bean (which obviously I dont have a photo of because its me and I am dumb like that). Throw the beans in the Jar and top with your vodka.  This big bottle makes 2 large jars worth of extract which translated into like 12-14 gift sized bottles depending on how full you fill them and how much vodka or extract you spill in the process. 

 Put your lid on and Shake Shake Shake

Once it settles is a slight amber colour
Over the next 3 months take the jar out of the cabinet, shake the heck out of it, loosen the lid to let off pressure and repeat about once a week. Honestly I did it more like ever 2-3 weeks and it turned out ok.

This is how it looked 2ish months into it. it does not get much darker, just richer in flavor. You can see all the little bits at the bottom that will later need to be filtered out.

After a few months test it. take a spoon dip it in and taste it. It should have a strong yummy vanilla flavour followed buy alcohol . If it tastes like a cocktail its not done, but 3 months should be good and you shouldn’t need to worry.  Next you need to strain it though several layers of cheese cloth to get all the little bits out (seeds etc).  I tossed the bits but kept the beans. You can re-use them over and over until their loose their floraly vanilla scent. 

Next Bottle it using a funnel.

then cap it, label it and take a million glamour shots.


Sources and Notes:

  • Vanilla Beans from Vanilla Food Company in Canada. Much cheaper than purchasing from bulk or grocery stores. I went with the Madagascar Bourbon Beans. 
  • Bottles are 100ml Amber Boston Round Bottles from CanWax. I found that with shipping they were the cheapest, even cheaper then bulk from Uline bottles. I removed the dipper insert from the cap, just pulling it out before capping. My labels also came from Canwax and i printed off my printer with mixed reaction. 
  • my funky silverish plastic swing top mason jar caps are from reCap Mason Jar and I adore them. I can push the cap down, shake, and pop the cap to release pressure and leave it slightly ajar 
Posted in Christmas, diy, food, gift, vanilla

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