Homemade Vanilla Extract

Today’s guest post comes from Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity.

*warning, without giving anything away, if you normally receive a Christmas present from me, don’t attempt this at home…cause then you are a Grinch and will ruin Christmas for me.

Saturday Jack and I made homemade vanilla extract. It was extremely easy (start to finish it took 10 minutes), and I’m looking forward to testing the results when it’s ready in 8-12 weeks!

The process is foolproof…so says the person who doesn’t know what it taste like yet.


-vanilla beans. Don’t get the old crummy expensive ones from the store. These are lovely, had free shipping, and were shipped extremely quickly. And they made my mailbox smell heavenly.
-vodka or bourbon. Note if you don’t drink, visiting a liquor store is like a foreign experience. I told a Jewish friend of mine that it would be like if she visited the bacon store.

Step 1 – assemble your beans and kitchen shears, or a sharp knife (paring knife would be great):

 Step 2 – cut vanilla bean in half, leaving about 1/2-1 inch at the top intact. They’re easier to cut than it looks like. The consistency is similar to that of a pepperoni stick:

Step 3 – find a glass jar with a secure lid. I used a quart sized canning jar. Fold the beans in to the jar:

 Step 4 – pour 2 cups (for every 6 vanilla beans) of your choice of liquor in to jar:

Step 5 – put lid on jar, and shake a few times.

Store in a cool, dry place for 8-12 weeks. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the vanilla flavor will be. Shake the jars every few days to speed the process.

When ready to give as gifts (hypothetically speaking of course), pour in to individual bottles. I found a great deal on this site. As you use the extract, replace with a little bourbon or vodka, and the beans should last for a few years.

And now you have a lovely gift, that is frugal to give, and isn’t full of additives and high fructose corn syrup.

Step 6 – ask your personal assistant to upload photos on to your blog:

About Sarah: I’m mom to the craziest and cutest 16-month-old boy this side of the Mississippi.  And my husband is pretty darn cute, too.  I work in Higher Ed, and we try to raise my son as naturally as we can afford on our very limited budget.  He was exclusively breastfed for the first 12 months of his life which often led me to pumping in creepy closets and bathrooms while traveling for work.   We cloth diaper, and overall just try to do our best with not screwing him up! My blog is a hodge podge of tips about living frugually, doing “from scratch” things to save money, and of course photos of my adorable kid.



Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Recipes, Sustainable Living

4 responses to “Homemade Vanilla Extract

  1. Anne Bailey

    This is fantastic, Sarah. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the great post, Sarah! I’m planning to try it for some Christmas presents too!

  3. Rob

    Just ordered my v. beans will make for xmas!!!

  4. That is one a-do-ra-ble personal assistant you’ve got there!

    Now I’m off to try to track down a good source of vanilla beans in Canada, because I would love to try this myself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s