Homemade vanilla extract -- how long until "ready"?

Baking By jennicake Updated 1 Oct 2013 , 8:39pm by jennicake

jennicake Posted 16 Sep 2013 , 3:25am
post #1 of 11

Thanks to all the suggestions on CC about buying vanilla beans from Vanilla Products USA, I bought some and spent the weekend chopping beans and making some bottles of extract.  Smells so good in here!!


I've been reading a lot of different opinions on how long the extract needs to brew before you can actually use it.  Seen a lot of opinions that you can start using it at one month, and others suggesting waiting up to one year. I'm sure that the extract wont taste as good as one month as it will at one year, but I also don't want to wait one year to use this!


For those of you that make your own extract, when do you usually start using it?  How long should I force myself to wait?

10 replies
IAmPamCakes Posted 16 Sep 2013 , 3:33am
post #2 of 11

AI started using mine at 6 weeks, but I was making double fold vanilla anyway, so it was stronger sooner. I get emails from a vanilla company I have used that is marketing their vanilla making sets 'for the holidays,' so I'm sure their intention is for you to gift homemade vanilla that has been sitting for - what - 3 months?

jennicake Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 9:45pm
post #3 of 11

6 weeks!  Well that's promising :).  Mine isn't quite double-fold but I have made it stronger than the directions have suggested.  It already has a really nice color to it and smells divine (yes, I keep sneaking sniffs lol).  I think I can hold out for 6 weeks and then give it a trial run.


Do you leave your beans in once your extract is ready, or do you strain them out?  I've been seeing a lot of different opinions on that too.

IAmPamCakes Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 9:49pm
post #4 of 11

AI leave them in the bottle. You can add more liquid when you use your vanilla; it's like a never ending vanilla supply!

LisaPeps Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 11:41pm
post #5 of 11

I usually wait a couple of months before using mine. I also leave the beans in the bottle and top up with new vodka when it is running low, I always have an extra bottle on the go though as I'd hate to run out of it!! Whenever I use the actual seeds in baking, I put the leftover bean in the bottle as it still has some seeds and flavour on it. 

Gerle Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 1:41am
post #6 of 11

When I make it, I make it in a 1.75 litre bottle and I let it set for 6 months or more.  I have a batch I started on July 1 of this year, and don't expect to touch it until probably Spring or Summer of 2014 as I have a batch I made last year that was ready in January of this year.  I usually leave a few of the vanilla beans in the vanilla when I place it in individual bottles.  I like the specks in my baking when I use it.  I've heard that if you're making smaller batches, it's ready earlier, but I haven't tried that yet.  I do, however, have a small batch of Mexican vanilla and Honduran vanilla that I made in pint jars, but not sure when I should use those.  They, too, were started on July 1.


I tell you....homemade vanilla ice cream, made with homemade vanilla extract........ummmm ummmm good!  My family just loves it!

Spooky_789 Posted 1 Oct 2013 , 1:35am
post #10 of 11

I made my first batch of vanilla back on 6/18/13.  Twenty-seven bottles later, I'm about to use some for the first time the next time I need vanilla.  I've got a small amount of Tahitian vanilla extract and another small bottle of Mexican vanilla extract that are both three months old that I'm ready to test.


I wrote two blog posts about my vanilla extract making fun this summer.  Feel free to read them, as I also include a recipe for alcohol-free vanilla flavoring.





jennicake Posted 1 Oct 2013 , 8:39pm
post #11 of 11

Just read your blog!  :)  We used similar ratios of beans I think (mine is slightly above recommendations too).  Whenever I go give my bottles a shake, I open the lids and take a whiff.  Smells wonderful!


I notice you made yours very differently than mine.  I chopped up my beans into 1 inch pieces (following a suggestion from Vanilla Products USA) but I see that you scraped out seeds and then chopped them up.  I think the next time I make extract I'm going to make it in a few different ways to see if it makes a different to the end result.  I'm all about minimal effort lol.


I made a few bottles as well, can't wait to have some taste testing fun in a few months to see which I like!  I'll do up a blog post on my results later in case anyone else finds it useful.  I've got batches of madagascar in vodka, in light rum, in dark rum; tahitian in vodka; 50/50 madagascar & tahitian in vodka; 2:1 madagascar & tahitian in vodka; 1:2 madagascar & tahitian in vodka.  I went a little crazy hehe

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