I’m going to guess a few of you did a fair amount of baking this month. Did you have to buy vanilla extract at the store? It’s expensive and it’s not always that healthy for you. Many of the vanilla extracts sold are “imitation” and are really just filled with ethyl alcohol and chemicals. That doesn’t sound like a great way to make your desserts taste extra special now does it. Here is an easy recipe to make your own vanilla extract. I gave bottles of it away as hostess gifts this year and have one more mason jar saved for myself. Time to make a few more batches.
- 750 ml alcohol- either vodka, rum or bourbon
- 15-20 vanilla beans (I orded mine from OliveNation)
I cut the vanilla beans in half with scissors, then scraped the vanilla beans out into an sterile quart size glass mason jar. The vanilla beans are also added to the mason jar. Then cover the beans with your alcohol of choice. I used all three alcohols (separately) so I could decide which one is better. The bourbon smelled the best by far, but it is a more expensive choice. The better the alcohol you use, the better the end result. If you choose vodka, skip the plastic bottle bottom shelf vodka and get a mid-level priced option instead. It will create a better end result.
Next, store the jars in a cool, dark place. It has to be handy so it may be easier to just make some room in a kitchen cabinet. Over the next week, give the jars a gentle shake. After a week is up, transfer the jars to a storage area and let them sit for a minimum of six weeks. The longer they sit, the better. For the Christmas gifts I made, I did this in August and let them sit for months. Some say you can do it right away, others agree that longer steeping time is better.
Once your vanilla is ready, I strained the mixture using a double layer of cheesecloth. I bought adorable swing top bottles from a local store. I used these labels and printed them on sticker paper. I had to create my own sheet of just the vanilla labels, cut and paste into a new document to print just vanilla labels. Once the jars were full, I added in some of the vanilla beans for decoration.
There are tons of different ways to make your own vanilla extract. This article here has links to many other crafters which helped develop my own recipe.
Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.