Why You Should Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
If you are a fan of the rich and complex flavor of vanilla, then making your own vanilla extract at home is definitely worth a try! Homemade vanilla extract can offer a depth of flavor that is often lacking in store-bought versions, allowing you to elevate your baked goods, desserts, and other recipes to a whole new level.
The process of making vanilla extract is surprisingly simple and requires only a few high-quality ingredients, including vanilla beans and alcohol. Not only can making your own vanilla extract be a fun and rewarding project, but it can also be a cost-effective option to get the best quality vanilla extract since you can make large batches and reuse the vanilla beans. We like to make large batches so we have plenty for gift-giving for friends and family and there’s no drawback since the flavor improves with time. So why not give it a try and enjoy the delicious taste and aroma of fresh, homemade vanilla extract in your favorite recipes?
Why Homemade Vanilla Extract Tastes Better than Store-Bought
Homemade vanilla extract is often richer in flavor than store-bought vanilla extract. This is because homemade extract typically contains a higher concentration of vanilla beans, which results in a more intense and complex flavor profile. When you make your own vanilla extract, you have control over the types of vanilla beans you use, the alcohol base, and the length of time the extract steeps. This allows you to customize the flavor to your liking, and experiment with different flavor profiles. You also you have control over the quality and purity of the ingredients. By using high-quality, natural ingredients, you can ensure that your extract is free from additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors, resulting in a more natural and pure flavor.
Where Does Vanilla Come From?
Have you ever wondered where vanilla beans come from? Vanilla beans are the seed pod of the vanilla orchid, and the tiny specs inside are its delicious seeds.
Vanilla is a flavor derived from the beans of the vanilla orchid, a flowering plant in the orchid family. The vanilla orchid is native to Mexico and Central America, but it is now grown in tropical regions around the world, including Madagascar, Indonesia, and Tahiti.
The process of growing and producing vanilla beans is time-consuming and labor-intensive. The vanilla orchid flowers must be hand-pollinated, and the beans must be harvested by hand when they are fully ripe. The beans are then cured and dried, a process that can take several weeks and requires careful monitoring to ensure the beans are not over-dried or under-dried.
Once the beans have been cured and dried, they can be used to make vanilla extract, vanilla powder, or vanilla flavoring. Never try to strain out the seeds when you make vanilla extract. They are a mark of quality and a continual source of flavor in vanilla extract.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- 4 beans vanilla
- 8 oz 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.
- If you prefer, however, you can remove the vanilla beans and make a second batch of extract with them instead of topping off your bottle.
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!