I need to start asking other folks if they do the same, but we add vanilla to SO many things. And if something calls for vanilla, we 100% of the time add MORE than what the recipe calls for. It is delicious and I may have a problem, but I’m okay with that. Because of how much we use, i learned how to make my own DIY vanilla extract!
There are only a few condiments/spices/extracts etc. that I would just throw into a vast majority of dishes willy nilly, and vanilla is one of them.
Cookies, coffee (yes, coffee!), oatmeal, cake, pie, anything that calls for cinnamon, and of course the list goes on.
Now, I am sure you are aware though, that vanilla can be EXPENSIVE. And of course, we try and always get organic when we can.
Since we started adding vanilla extract to our coffee and started baking more from scratch, I now go though a ton of vanilla.
When I realized we were going through so much, I found a way to make my own for a huge fraction of the price of what we were spending at the store.
What you need for DIY vanilla extract
It’s super simple and all you need is some vodka, vanilla beans, and a container to make/store it in.
Some other supplies that you’ll want to have on hand is something to label the bottle (we use masking tape and a sharpie, but for gist feel free to do something a bit fancier) and a funnel.
My husband brews his own beer so I used these flip/pop top amber glass bottles. I liked the darker bottles so it doesn’t let in as much light vs. clear ones.
DIY vanilla extract how-to
Now, I know a lot of people like to leave their vanilla beans whole. I prefer to cut them up into small pieces and I’ll tell you why. As you use your extract, and you leave the beans whole, the beans will no longer be fully submerged in the liquid. This can cause the beans to become moldy.
I know it looks fancy, but since I am using amber bottles, I can barely see the beans anyways so I just cut them up into tiny pieces. I use about 5-7 beans, whatever makes sense for divvying up the beans you have to make the number of bottles you have.
Add your chopped vanilla beans to the bottle and fill with your vodka.
Close your bottle, I put the date, and store in a cool dry place for 6 weeks before using. That’s it! When the six weeks are up, you don’t need to do anything special, just start using your liquid gold.
The real bonus about making it yourself and cutting your beans small is that you can use it down until there is a few inches left in you bottle, and then just fill it back up with vodka. Let it sit again for at least 6 weeks and you have ANOTHER bottle of vanilla.
You can usually get 3 rounds of vanilla from a single bottle of vanilla beans. Now THAT is saving some big bucks on vanilla extract!