I’m going to share a secret with you… I’m not a huge chocolate fan. Shhh! Don’t get me wrong, I like some chocolate occasionally but I rarely crave it. What I crave is vanilla. I love vanilla. I will always take vanilla over chocolate. When I found out just how simple it is to make homemade Vanilla extract, I knew I had to make it! And with Christmas a little less than a month away I decided it would be a great gift too!
Pure Vanilla extract consists of 2 things: vodka and vanilla beans. I swear! That’s all that vanilla extract is! Go check the label of the bottle in your cupboard. The number of beans and amount of vodka you need depends on how much vanilla extract you plan on making. Here is my ratio: 2 vanilla beans to every 4 ounces of vodka. The quality of vodka doesn’t matter… cheap is good. 😉
I know that vanilla beans can be expensive. I decided to go with Madagascar vanilla beans from Beanilla and they were a GREAT price! There are many different varieties of vanilla beans so pick the one you want and go for it! I don’t think you can really go wrong! When your beans arrive they should be fragrant, plump, and oily! That is the sign of a good bean.
I used 4 oz. Boston round bottles that I found here.
Follow these super simple instructions…
And then let your Vanilla extract sit in a dark place for approximately 2 months. About once a week, take each bottle and shake it for about 10 seconds. Then put it back and resist using it until the full 2 months is up.
You can see in my pictures above that the color of the extract will darken over time. You only see my vanillas up to the 5 week mark because they aren’t quite done yet. They will be just in time for Christmas! But I wanted to get a jump on this and share it with all of you so you could possibly squeeze in making these in time to give them as gifts!
Mine are turning out amazingly! I whipped up some labels and slapped them on the bottles. If you are just going to start making these now, you will probably want to add a “Don’t use until _______” spot on your label so people know when it is done brewing!
I made a second label for the back of the jars giving instructions. You can reuse your beans for up to 1 year, just topping off the extract with more vodka as it starts to get low. And if you cook with vanilla beans you can put your emptied pods into the extract to keep the flavor going even longer than a year!
And it is even better that this homemade vanilla extract is so much cheaper than buying it in the store! Normally you can buy a 2 oz. pure vanilla extract at the store for about $3-$4. I made these 4 oz. vanilla extracts for $3.25 each! I can’t wait to give it as a gift this Christmas!
What is your favorite? Vanilla or chocolate? Or something else!?
**Update: So many of you asked for copies of my labels to download! I’ve made them available for you here!**