My girls and I spend a lot of time baking in the kitchen together. We all enjoy finding new recipes, gathering the ingredients, and mixing up baked goods. It is satisfying to eat a sweet treat in the afternoon that is made from scratch with a lot of extra loved baked in.
Lately, it has been difficult to keep vanilla extract in stock at my house. With all three girls baking these days, a bottle is gone before I even have a chance to bake myself.
When it comes to spices and extracts, I like to buy from small local businesses. Good quality vanilla extract brings a recipe up to the next level. Once I started purchasing high-end vanilla extract, it was really hard to purchase it at the local grocery store. The price has gone up significantly and before I knew it I was paying $25 for 2 fl oz. Yikes!
After lamenting to my mom about my vanilla extract problem, she told me about how women in her retirement community make their own extract. This piqued my interest, and I started researching how I could make my own too.
Yields 2 cup of vanilla extract
- 10 Madagascar Vanilla Beans Grade B
- Vodka 16 oz
- Score each vanilla bean before placing it in your 16 oz jar.
- Use a funnel to pour in the vodka. Be sure and cover the vanilla beans entirely with the vodka.
- Seal tightly. Store the vanilla extract in a cool, dark cabinet.
- Each week be sure to shake the bottle. The vanilla extract will be ready to use in 2 months. The longer you leave it, the deeper the flavor. I will use mine after six months, and it will be like a double-strength vanilla extract in 12 months.
- When you begin to use the vanilla extract, take out all the beans first. Once the beans are not covered by the vodka, they can start to mold, so do not leave exposed beans in the jar.
- I plan to search for recipes that need vanilla beans and make those with the beans when I start to use the extract.
I made 6 cups of vanilla extract to get us started. I love having homemade items on hand that make great gifts. My plan is to bottle the vanilla extract in 4 oz gift size bottles. I am planning to gift homemade vanilla extract to:
- school teachers
- ballet teachers
- violin/piano teachers
- dinner hostesses
- volunteers that work with our girls
If I have any left, I will use it as Christmas gifts for family and friends.
Since I decided to make such a large batch of extract, the initial cost came close to $100. I did, however, make 6 cups of vanilla extract.
For comparison and to make sure that this was a worthwhile endeavor, I looked up how much it would cost at my favorite spice company. One 16 oz bottle of Pure Vanilla Extract, Single Strength using Madagascar beans costs $94.95. I was able to make 3 times as much vanilla extract for the same price.
I am grateful that I had a conversation with my mom about vanilla extract. Who knew it would turn into my next gift idea. I love tips from the older generation. This was a fun activity that will yield excellent tasting extract.
I start a new batch of extract every 6 months. I find this pace allows us to have enough for our own personal use and plenty to give away as gifts as well. When the extract is ready to be poured into smaller containers for use, I scrape out the vanilla seeds to use in homemade vanilla bean ice cream.
What would you make with the leftover vanilla seeds?
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