Vanilla Extract-DIY

I am not a patient person, but for this project to work I had to be. A couple of months ago I came across a couple blogs about making your own vanilla extract and why. The biggest reason why is because it is pure and a lot more potent than the extract you get at the store. I have always been a stickler about using the pure vanilla extract, but never realized the “pure vanilla extract” from the store has corn syrup in it. Does anything not have corn syrup? Ugh!

About 45 days ago I received my premium Madagascar vanilla beans from Amazon and bought some little bottles of liquor from the liquor store. Vodka is the “traditional” alcohol to make the extract. The Rum and Jack Daniels extract are experiments and I need recipe suggestions to try them out with.

If you purchased a bottle from me at a craft fair, you will notice little black specks in it. These specks are the vanilla bean and add extra flavor.  When using pure vanilla extract, you may have to modify the recipe because this stuff is stronger than the stuff you buy at the store.  This makes a bottle go a long way!

***JULY 2013 EDIT***

I have been making extract for about a year now and have decided that letting the beans steep in the vodka for 3 months is the perfect timing to make a rich vanilla.

***DECEMBER 2014 EDIT***

I am still loving my Real Vanilla Extract!  Tips: 1 bean per 2 oz of liquid.  My alcohol of choice is Smirnoff.  Extract is best after about 4 months of steeping.  Sometimes I leave the beans in it longer because I don’t get around to bottling it…it is still just as good, if not better when it’s been steeping for 8+ months. The two links below are my favorite suppliers so far.  In my opinion, Olive Nation/JR Mushroom has the best quality beans and service.

How to prepare the vanilla:

I made a slit down the side of the bean then cut it into 4 pieces.
I carefully poured out a teaspoon of liquor out of the bottle and then put the bean pieces into it. (in other words, one cut up bean per shot bottle).
I shook up the bottles every day, then every other day as time went by. Here is what they looked like after day 2. I didn’t take any more pics…so use your imagination for day 3, 4, 5, 10, 20….
Day 45 finally arrived. A lot of other people’s instructions that I saw online noted that the extract would be ready at a month, but I wanted to wait longer. The longer the wait, the stronger the taste. Tonight I was so anxious to use it I made my famous chocolate chip cookies with the vanilla extract in the Smirnoff bottle. They were fantastic! Now I need to figure out what recipes to use with the Rum and Jack.

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