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EASY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is one of those items I  dislike purchasing.  I don’t want to buy the cheap stuff, because it was artificially flavored.  I don’t want to buy the expensive stuff, because it was expensive!  Because I make pancakes about twice a week, and do most of our baked goods at home, we use a lot of vanilla!

When I visited our raw milk farm a couple years ago, the farmer’s wife showed me the batches of homemade vanilla extract she was working on.  By “working” I mean she was letting them sit on a shelf for months, shaking them now and again.  All you needed, she said, was vanilla beans, vodka, and time.

You don’t say…

Vanilla Extract + ingredients

I ordered some vanilla beans from my favorite online organic spice merchant, Mountain Rose Herbs.  I bought a fifth of vodka.  The rest, my dear, is history.  I ran out of that fifth of vanilla extract several months ago, and I now have made a handle’s worth of it!  It is just as good or better than the stuff I’ve always bought, and I can use it liberally without guilt.


Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: .75 liters

Homemade vanilla extract with only vodka, vanilla beans, and time!
  1. Use a paring knife to slice through each vanilla pod lengthwise (don't have to cut all the way through, just open the pod a little).
  2. Add each vanilla bean to the vodka bottle and close tightly.
  3. Shake and set in a dark pantry.
  4. Shake periodically (like monthly? when I remember, so probably not even that often).
  5. Extract should be ready to use in about 3 months. You can tell it's ready when you don't get a big alcoholic whiff - it's more smooth vanilla. Smell test it at 1 month and 2 months, etc. so you get a better idea of when the turn takes place. I usually pour a batch into my old, recycled vanilla extract bottle and let the rest sit with the beans until I need to use it. Lasts over a year.



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