Those of you that have read my blog for awhile know that I am trying to avoid packaged and processed things. Vanilla extract was one of those things that I had never thought about really being processed. I never thought about making my own. But after seeing a couple of sites talk about making their own vanilla extract I thought I might give it a try. (You can go here and here to see those posts).
I know what you are probably thinking, because I thought it at first too, why make your own? Well, have you looked at your bottle of extract, if it is like mine it contains corn syrup? Yes, corn syrup. I have no idea why they put corn syrup in vanilla, but they do.
Have you noticed the other ingredients in your extract? Alcohol, yes extracts contain alcohol, most around 30% some more. So, before some of say you can’t believe I am doing this, alcohol is alcohol. What I am using for this extract is 40% alcohol, so, what I am making is no different than the extracts you are buying in the stores.
So here are the ingredients: vodka
and vanilla beans.
Pretty simple isn’t it. When I decided to do this I had no idea what vodka costs. We have never bought or even looked at vodka. I sent my husband to the liquor store, quite a distance from where we live and where he practices. I can just hear what people would say when they saw the local dentist/church deacon walking out of the liquor store with a bottle of vodka. I am sure rumors would fly. Since we don’t ever buy hard liquor, he had no idea if different vodka would make a difference for my project, so he just bought the cheapest bottle, which was $6. I am assuming for vanilla extract cheap is fine, but I could be wrong.
Now on to the vanilla beans, these were expensive. There was no way I was going to buy them in the store at about $5 a bean, because I needed 10 vanilla beans. There are a lot of sources online, but I wanted to order it from someone reputable. I decided to order the Vanilla Beans from Amazon.
As far as the cost, overall this is cheaper than most store bought real vanilla extract. It will depend on where you buy your vanilla though. If you buy it from a warehouse store like Sam’s or Costco it may be cheaper to buy it. But I am not doing this for the cost. I am doing it so that I know what is in it. Also, from what I have read online homemade extracts taste much better.
This project is really easy, but it does take patience. All you do is make a slice down the side of the vanilla beans. You want to cut into the bean, but not completely through the bean.
You then place 10 beans into a bottle of vodka.
Then you let it sit for several months, shaking it once a week. I dated the bottle so that I would know the date I started it.
Here is what my vanilla looked like at one week.
See it is already looking like vanilla extract. I will keep you posted on my vanilla project. My vanilla should be ready to use in a few more weeks. I am curious to see if I see a difference then using the store bought extracts. I do know that I will now have a really large supply of vanilla.
So have any of you ever made homemade vanilla extract? If so is it better? Do you think it is cheaper?