There’s nothing quite as good as the flavor a good vanilla extract, and we’ve never used one that compares to our homemade vanilla extract. And the recipe couldn’t be easier! Unfortunately, there are many imitations on the market, whether they’re labeled so or not, so you’ll notice the difference in quality and price if buying extracts. You get the best quality for the cost making your own vanilla extract and, even better, homemade vanilla extract makes a fantastic gift.
We like to buy our vanilla beans in bulk. Our local Costco has wonderful – and fair trade – beans in the winter at great prices, so we stock up then and store them in the root cellar. If only our great-great grandmother could see us.
Have you ever wondered where vanilla beans come from? Vanilla beans are the seed pod of an orchid, and the tiny specs inside are its delicious seeds. Never try to strain out the seeds. They are a mark of quality and a continual source of flavor in vanilla extract.
This is a quick-and-easy homemade gift that your friends and family will rave about.
vodka or bourbon
Use the best quality vanilla beans you can find – split the beans along the long edge to reveal the seeds inside.
Add beans to a sterilized mason jar and add the high-proof alcohol of your choice. Our favorites are vodka and bourbon, but you can use rum, or brandy, as you please.
Cover with a lid and store in a cool dark place for as long as possible (a full year or more is best – vanilla extract never expires and only gets better with age.
When you are ready to bottle your vanilla, there is no need to discard the beans, cut them to fit each bottle and the flavor will continue to develop and it adds a nice touch to the bottled extract.
We continue to top off our kitchen bottle with the alcohol used for the extract – as long as the beans have more flavor to yield.
When your homemade vanilla extract is ready to bottle and gift, check out some of our customizable vanilla extract labels – available for a variety of bottles.