Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Homemade Vanilla Extract


I love to bake…. a lot. It seems like many of my recipes call for vanilla and I go through a lot of it. Well I am finally tired of paying out the nose for tiny bottles of vanilla and I refuse to use the artificial kind. So what is a girl to do? Make her own vanilla extract that’s what! And honestly it is so simple to do, I wonder why I haven’t done it sooner!

You only need three things to make your own vanilla extract….. Vanilla beans, vodka or Everclear (which is what we used) and time. For me the alcohol was easy to find, but seeing where we live, finding Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans at a reasonable price was a little tougher. So of course I turned to the internet to source the beans. We found a really good deal on Amazon and the beans arrived in no time flat

So now what? Do you just pop the beans in the bottle? No!! You need to split the beans. So with knife in hand I started the “hard work” of making my extract. Start by pouring a little of the alcohol out of the bottle to make room for the beans. Don’t worry if you pour too much out, it can be added back in. Next we “split” our beans, simply scoring the bean with a knife. Now many folks stop right there and plop the beans in the alcohol. But you know me, gotta be different! I wanted to make sure to get the full potential from my beans.

Next, we turned our blade sideways and scrap down the pod in both directions. This released the seeds inside which are full of that delicious flavor we are after. We placed both the seeds and pods in the bottle. Replace as much of the alcohol as will fit in the bottle, screw the top on, and shake it up. Now put the bottle on a shelf and wait! The extract will be “ready” in a few months but for the maximum flavor longer is preferred. I know waiting is hard to do, but it will so be worth it!!! Shake your bottle about once a week (or more if you just like having fun!)

We used a used a fifth of Everclear (750ml) and around 12-14 beans to make our extract (which was less then half of the package of beans we bought.) When I did the math, each ounce of vanilla extract I made cost me just over $1 to make compared to the prices you pay in the store. Now I say that is a winner!!!

**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**


39 comments:

  1. Seriously. I am moving in with you. That is so interesting that this is made with Vodka. Hmmm. Since this is so cheap, I may have to try it. I am so sick of the ridiculous prices I pay for this and Anise.

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    1. Make it, start it now so it will be ready sooner then later. And unless you are going to cook, clean and care for the country kids, I am not taking any more boarders, human or critter LOL

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  2. Great post. I've got some of my own 'aging' now. I'm with you, I refuse to use the imitation and I always have vanilla beans lying around because I love using the seeds for baking as well...come to think of it I always have vodka around too!
    Lisa
    Fresh Eggs Daily

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    1. Hmmm why do you always have vodka? LOL *wink*

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  3. I have wanted to make this for ages and still haven't made the jump because I don't have vanilla beans or vodka in the house. My mother in law lived in Mexico and one time came back with this gift of Mexican vanilla which she was so pleased to give me this huge bottle. I thought it was a little weird so it went into the cupboard until I used all of the stuff from the store. I decided that I would give it a try. It was so different then the store bought one. I finished my whole 17 oz bottle and I asked my mom if she finished hers and she laughed because she hadn't even opened it. It was a happy day when she brought me the second bottle which I have already made quick work of so I am going to have to make some when that runs out. Glad to know to check amazon for the beans. I had my parents check amish country and I don't remember how much the beans were but I am going to have to double check and start soon!! What is everclear?

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    1. Everclear is just a clear, no flavor, HIGH alcohol content liquor…. Legal moonshine shall we call it LOL

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  4. I so admire you for making your own vanilla extract. I've thought about it, but I'm lazy and impatient - not traits that would work well for this project. LOL

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    1. It take all of ten minutes to put together and then set it and forget it LOL Now if that ain't lazy...... LOL

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    2. Okay, you've got me on the lazy part - it's that impatient that might be a problem. LOL

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    3. If you tuck it away, in three months when you find it again, you'll be all impressed with yourself. Out of sight out of mind :)

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  5. I tried this and it really is good - better and cheaper than store bought! I am also doing the same thing with lemons, oranges, almonds and mint. Next, I am going to try anise!

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    1. I was thinking the same thing.... why stop at vanilla!!

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  6. This doesn't sound that hard to do. Going to save this info and try it. Great information and very helpful.. Will share on google, pinterest. Visiting from Tuesday With a Twist Blog Hop.

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    1. Marla is is soooooooo easy. I have no idea why I haven't been doing this sooner and why more people don't!

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  7. I never would have thought to try this, but it does sound easy and this is something I cook with ALOT. Thanks so much for sharing on the Thursday Blog Hop!!

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    1. Pam, I cook with it a lot too. I have a baking problem! LOL I will never go back to paying out the nose at the store again!

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  8. This is a wonderful! I have a lot of Vodka lying around. Since I don't really drink Vodka but I do use vanilla extract, this is the perfect idea. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Lindsay.... um why do you have a lot of vodka lying around? LOL

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  9. I made a similar recipe for the first time about a year ago - and I am so amazed by how much better the flavour is than the store-bought stuff. Everybody needs to make this!

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    1. Your right Jennifer! Everbody should make this. It is such a tmoney saver and the quality is amazing.

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  10. This is so helpful! Thanks for linking up. :D http://timeforseason.blogspot.com/2014/03/my-favorite-things-saturdays-315.html

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  11. I can't believe how easy it is to make vanilla vs. the cost for the bitty bottles...even from Sam's Club it's still expensive.

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  12. Thank you for this great tip! I really really want to try it out myself, too. Even just to be able to shake the bottle, lol

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  13. Ok, you have inspired me. I have never tried to make my own before. Thanks for linking up with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday." I hope you will be able to join us again this week. http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2014/03/peanut-butter-bread.html

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    1. So sorry. I gave you the wrong link. Here is the correct one: http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2014/03/try-new-recipe-tuesday-march-18.html :-)

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    2. LOL You don't have to leave a link Lisa! Don't you know your one of my favorite hopes and I will NEVER miss ya *wink*

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  14. Making your own extract is so easy and the savings is amazing, isn't it? Thank you for sharing your posts at the HomeAcre Hop. I hope you'll join us again on Thursday.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

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  15. This is so cool, I can't even tell you!! Wow. Good work. Inspiring. Linda

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    1. Aww thank you! I love to inspire others :)

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  16. I love making homemade vanilla. I need to make more next time and ahead for gifts this holiday season. Thanks for sharing at My Favorite Things party! Theresa @DearCreatives

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  17. I can't imagine going back to store bought - uck! Thanks for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday and we hope you'll link up again today! Homestead Lady

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  18. Mindy now you have all the ingredients to make your own Kahlua ! Just saying you wouldn't want to waste those extra vanilla beans. Lol

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