I hate buying vanilla extract. It is so expensive and you only get a small amount. Since I like to save money I found a recipe for making my own at home. All it requires is vanilla beans, vodka, an air tight container and time. I found some reasonably priced vanilla beans at beanilla. They have a great assortment of varieties. I went with the Madagascar Vanilla Beans because a friend told me they were the best. It really only took about 4 days to receive too.
I purchased 10 beans because it had the best value. I ordered half for myself and half for my friend. For this recipe I used 5 vanilla beans. This is what you need to do to make your own vanilla extract.
Find a container to store it in. I found an old fashion mason jar. Even a cleaned out wine bottle would work. Make sure it’s good and clean.
Cut the vanilla beans in half length wise. Then use a kitchen scissors to cut them down the middle, to expose the vanilla.
Put them into the container and fill with vodka. At SimplyRecipes, my inspiration for this recipe, they use 3 vanilla beans and added 1 cup of vodka. For me, I had to use a little algebra to figure out I would need 1.666 cups of vodka for my 5 beans.
Then store them in a cool dark place. I put them in a cabinet in my laundry room. Make sure to give it a shake every once in a while. After a couple of months it will be ready. You will have a dark brown extract ready to bake with.
Add more vodka every so often to keep up a good supply. I will update this blog as it starts to darken. I look forward to saving lots of money with this recipe and using my own vanilla. Not only do I save money, but I reduce waste. The cap to the vanilla bean extract I purchase in the store is not recyclable. Making my own helps me to reduce waste.
*Updated 7/15/2012. Vanilla is now ready to use. It didn’t take long for it to get this dark brown color, but I wanted to give it extra time to infuse into the vodka.