Making homemade vanilla extract for your baking needs, is unbelievably simple. The only thing required of you is some patience.
This is a post that I have been planning to write for ages, but a recent post in our Facebook group (thank you Wendy!) prompted me to go ahead and share it now.
You see, one of our great members posted about the increase in vanilla prices being brought on by crop loss. A cyclone earlier this year took out 30% of the vanilla crops (See article: HERE)
That said, even when there isn’t a “crisis” in the baking world, making your own vanilla extract is incredibly simple and economical.
You only need three things.
How to make it:
To make the extract, purchase some good quality vanilla beans and good quality vodka. You don’t have to get top shelf, but don’t get “lighter fluid” vodka either.
Split the beans open and scrape all of the wonderful seeds out. Drop them into a bottle of vodka. Then drop the split bean pods into the bottle as well. You’ll want about 2 beans for every cup of vodka that you use. I’ll tell you though, that any time I use vanilla beans for another recipe, I’ll toss those pods into the bottle as well. It won’t hurt a thing and will only boost the vanilla flavor in your extract.
Place the bottle in your pantry and leave it be. Once in a while when you go into your pantry for something, give the bottle a shake to move the beans & seeds around in there.
You want to let these to steep for at least 4 or 5 months, but you can leave it in there indefinitely.
So how economical is it exactly?
Well let’s take a look at this. For a typical bottle of good quality vanilla, I pay about $8-9 for a bottle that is only about 2 ounces. Splitting it in the middle, that’s about $4.25 per ounce.
A bottle of decent vodka is about $20 for a bottle that is 25 ounces.
Vanilla beans normally come in a jar with two beans inside, and I can get them at my local store for $7-10. For a full bottle, I would use 6 beans. That would run me about $21-30. I watch for them to go on sale and stock up at that time. But even if I pay the full $10 for each 2 bean bottle, the beans and vodka together would come to around $50.
That’s only $2.00 per ounce for homemade vanilla extract as opposed to the $4.25 an ounce for the store bought vanilla extract!
This is a great money saver, especially if you do a lot of baking.
Have you ever made your own vanilla extract?