How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
If there’s one ingredient in my cupboard that I use a lot it’s vanilla extract. Vanilla extract gives a nice flavour to most recipes. I always like to use my own homemade vanilla extract.
Making vanilla extract actually isn’t that difficult. You just need to wait a while for the extract to mature.
The key to creating a good quality vanilla extract
The key to creating a good quality vanilla extract is using good quality beans. Don’t overdo it though. You don’t have to go out to buy the most expensive one on the block. But the dried out cheap ones won’t cut it.
Alcohol can change the way your vanilla extract tastes as well. It’s nice to experiment with to see which flavour you like. Most commonly used alcohol is vodka, rum or bourbon.
To make vanilla extract you’ll need vanilla beans and alcohol. Next to that you’ll need a bottle, preferably a dark bottle (green, brown, or in my case blue) and a pairing knife. Now I can hear you thinking, I see the beans, the bottle and the knife, but where’s the alcohol? Well, I forgot to put it in the picture… So you’ll just have to use your imagination and picture a big bottle of vodka next to the rest of the ingredients. 😉
Also, make sure you have clean tools to work with. I sterilize my knife and bottle for vanilla extract by putting them in boiling water for roughly 30 minutes before I start.
Let’s get to work. Take your knife and cut the bean lengthwise in half.
When halved, scrape the black vanilla seeds out of the vanilla bean by running the back of your knife along the inside of the vanilla bean.
Make a little vanilla seed pile on the side.
Once all vanilla beans are halved and emptied, cut them in three. The reason I cut up the vanilla bean is because the beans get distributed in the bottle more which will help with extracting the flavour.
Now, take your bottle and the vanilla gooey paste. Please ignore the white knife in this picture, it’s just decoration…
And stuff it into the bottle.
Take your cut vanilla beans.
And stuff those into the bottle as well.
Now take your alcohol (I used vodka) and pour it in as well. I use a funnel to make sure I don’t spill anything.
And that’s about it. Look I found a picture with the vodka bottle in the back 😀
Now all that’s left to do is take the bottle and shake it vigorously. Now put the bottle in a cool dark place for at least a month and shake the bottle at least once a week, preferably more. After a month the extract is ready to use. If you want to get some of the seeds in your recipe just shake the bottle before pouring the extract in.
The longer you keep the vanilla beans in the bottle the more the flavour will intensify. As you use the extract, top op the bottle with more alcohol, enough to keep the vanilla beans submerged.
The extract can keep up to a year. Overtime the vanilla bean will start to lose flavour, so make sure to replace the beans every 3 to 6 months.
Homemade vanilla extract makes a really nice gift as well. Get a nice bottle and print your own little label with personal message on it.
Give making your own vanilla extract a try and let me know how it went 🙂