Homemade vanilla extract is not only more delicious than most store bought extracts, but it’s also really simple to make. I especially like the process because it gives me something to do with discarded vanilla bean pods once I’ve scraped the seeds for other recipes. The pods are so full of flavor and aroma that they shouldn’t go to waste!
To begin, find a bottle that has a tightly fitting lid or cork (I found mine at a thrift store), and clean/sterilize it. Once clean and dry, place your vanilla bean pods inside, and cover with vodka or rum. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place, giving it a shake every few days or so. The extract should be ripe and ready to use in about two months.
I like to make my vanilla extract in large batches, using several vanilla bean pods and a whole bottle of rum/vodka. Preparing it this way can take a little longer, but it makes enough for me to divide and package the extract in several smaller bottles to use as unique gifts or favor ideas for my friends and family. I have a collection of little bottles from craft stores and thrift stores that I like to use specifically for this purpose. I like to decorate them with pretty labels and twine. For these bottles, I used tuxedo colored small diamond tags in the style, French Market.
- Diamond Hang Tags • I chose the “French Market” style in Tuxedo.