Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe // Homemade Vanilla Extract

I love recipes that are easy and cheaper than store-bought. Vanilla extract is one of those recipes!

What You Need:
1 bottle of 750ml Vodka (or any liquor 80+ proof)
12 vanilla beans
cutting board
sharp knife

1) Slice each vanilla bean lengthwise along the entire side of the bean.

You want to be able to see the gooey pods inside.
2) Insert the beans into the vodka bottle. You may need to pour a little bit out to make room for the beans.

3) Seal the bottle and shake it up.

The beginning of something great...
4) Store the bottle in a cool, dark place and shake it once a week.

5) Your vanilla may be ready to use after one month, but it is best after 2 or 3 months. You can store it indefinitely, adding more vodka to the beans when the liquid gets low (they will keep flavoring it for a long time).

What it looks like two months later.

Cost Savings:
I was able to buy 16 vanilla beans online for less than $11 (but if you buy a larger amount, they are cheaper than that). And I got the vodka at a friendly neighborhood liquor store next to Publix for $16. Not sure if that is the best price - I don't really shop around for vodka. ;) But doing the math, I still saved money:

A 750ml bottle of vodka will yield about 25 ounces of extract. Which means my pure vanilla is $1 per ounce. BUT if I keep adding vodka to the beans, I will get a lot more out of it and the cost per ounce will decrease.

I might have seen imitation vanilla on sale for $1 per ounce but the real stuff is at least $2-$5 depending on the sales/coupons you come across.

Plus it is a lot more fun to do it yourself. Give it a try!