Homemade Vanilla Extract

Baking By craftybanana2 Updated 14 Jan 2016 , 3:41am by craftybanana2

craftybanana2 Posted 11 Jan 2016 , 2:09am
post #1 of 16

I'm attempting vanilla extract with a bottle of vodka and some used vanilla beans.... I just read something that said 1 cup of vodka for 7 beans. I put two in a small 50ml bottle of vodka just to see how it would turn out. Is that not enough beans? It's one of those travel/sampler size ones and the beans were from a bottle of local vanilla extract that I used up. So I was like, what the heck, I'm not going to use the vodka for anything.

I also read something interesting on another blog about vanilla extract making. One of the commenters said they use half rum and half vodka, another said they only use rum. Sounds like you can get pretty creative as long as it's alcohol. Another idea thrown out there was that a poster said they throw in cardamon or anise too. Wonder if a cinnamon stick would be a nice touch? Just thought I'd share.

Does anyone have a reliable source of beans that you could share? I know you can find them anywhere online, but since I have no experience with vanilla beans, I'd probably pick the scam by mistake. I'm in the USA. :)

Now the wait begins with my wee tiny bottle......

15 replies
maybenot Posted 12 Jan 2016 , 3:41am
post #2 of 16

I've done it.  I bought the beans from a well rated seller on Amazon and used the cheapest gallon bottle of full strength vodka I could find.  It takes awhile to get a nice product.  I shook it up every day for a month, or so, but for the early uses, I'd pour out what I needed and then let it breath for for a few hours or overnight [took away any "vodka-y" smell].  Now that it's much older, it's very rich and only smells like vanilla.

MBalaska Posted 12 Jan 2016 , 9:55pm
post #3 of 16

It seems that there were several threads a year or so ago about homemade vanilla extract.  Was it @AZCouture  that made tons of it??

Singerssoul Posted 12 Jan 2016 , 10:56pm
post #4 of 16

I make it all the time. I purchase beans for a reputable seller on Ebay who also has their own site.  I tend to use Absolute, because it's pretty cheap at Costco for a 1.75 liter.  I use half a pound of beans in it, leave for a month with daily shaking, and have awesome Extract.  Right now I have a couple of bottles of that, plus one of clear rum, and one that is spiced rum

Gerle Posted 12 Jan 2016 , 11:16pm
post #5 of 16

I've been making my own vanilla extract for a few years now.  I buy my beans from a couple of vanilla companies online - Vanilla Products, Inc. and The Vanilla.Company.  I've been very happy with the quality of both company's beans.  I usually buy a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka and have used different qualities of vodka for making the vanilla and have never been disappointed with how it has turned out.  I use it as gifts for friends and relatives, too.  I've even bought different types of beans (Mexican, Uganda, etc.) so have had various types of vanilla on hand as well.  I've had some brewing for quite a while.  I have a bottle brewing now that has been there for a long time (probably over a year).  I brewed too many at one time and haven't gotten around to bottling it yet into smaller bottles, but when I've done that, it still turns out great and I've had rave review about the vanilla from family and friends.  It's fun to do.  I date the bottles when I start them and then I date the smaller bottles I put it in when I re-bottle them.  I also buy my smaller bottles and labels from Amazon when I re-bottle as gifts.  I also sometimes put one of the beans in the bottles I gift.  That way they have some of the seeds if they want them.  I started out doing it just out of curiosity, but it was fun and I enjoyed the taste better than the stuff from the supermarket so have kept it up.   Family members have said they really can taste a difference from the store bought, too.

Gerle Posted 12 Jan 2016 , 11:24pm
post #6 of 16

I've been making homemade vanilla for a long time now and really enjoy it.  I use it as gifts for family and friends.  I purchase my whole vanilla beans online from Vanilla Products and Vanilla.Company.  Both have been good suppliers and I haven't had any problems with either company.  I've used various brands of vodka and haven't been disappointed with any of them yet.  I've even had vanilla sit for a very long time brewing with no problems.  I use the bean pods to make vanilla sugar after making the vanilla extract, too.  That way I get the most out of the beans!  I've never had a complaint yet from family or friends when they receive the homemade vanilla or vanilla sugar.....they enjoy it all!  Makes ya feel good to make things like that that you can share with others!

craftybanana2 Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 3:47am
post #7 of 16

@MBalaska  I remembered reading those, that's what gave me the idea to do this in the first place! But since the update, it's been hard to find them :(

@Singerssoul   I didn't think about spiced rum, I have an almost full bottle in the cabinet.... Time for another experiment! :D

@Gerle  I had forgotten about vanilla sugar! Thanks for the reminder. I made some years ago at work as an experiment one day because the chef was telling me about all the fancy things he did at his old job. Do you let the beans totally dry before putting it in the sugar or do you just scrape the seeds into it? Also how long do you let the sugar sit? It's been 10 years since then.

I do have some Amazon money left over, time to go buy some real beans! Thanks for all the help. I guess I'll let my two beans sit in the 50ml bottle for now. I was thinking it would make great gifts since my blender broke in the middle of making apple butter this year. I was only able to give out 8 jars instead of 16, poo. :(

Do you suggest that I make one big bottle or make it in the bottles I would give them in?

Thanks everyone for your input smile.png

Gerle Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 4:20am
post #8 of 16

I let the beans dry before I put them in the sugar, but I put the whole bean in the sugar.  I place the pod in the sugar in a container with a tight fitting lid, shake it up good, and let it sit for a while so the flavor goes through the sugar.  I personally leave the pod in the sugar until I've used all the sugar up then dispose of the pod.   As to the extract, I feel it's better to make one big bottle then pour it into the smaller bottles to give as gifts, but that's my preference.  Others may have their own preference as to what to do.  When I'm planning on making the extract for gifts, I often make 2-3 liter bottles of the extract so I have plenty to give as gifts for friends and family members, and still leave some for myself.

Gerle Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 1:57pm
post #9 of 16

That's really odd.  Post #5 above was one I was typing yesterday.  It just disappeared when I selected "submit", so I typed post #6, not remembering all that I had typed before and not knowing what happened to what I had previously typed.  Then I get up this morning and the post is there.  Really odd....  Now it looks like I double posted.  Very strange.....

Claire138 Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 9:55pm
post #10 of 16

I've just made my first successful vanilla extract & I'm thrilled. It smells like vanilla buttery heaven. I bought vanilla pods from an exclusive cake decorating shop here (one of those tiny ones) & used Ukranian vodka - I don't like smirnoff for baking & this one is excellent.

For the moment though I'm only using it in ice cream and the taste is just insane. As soon as I buy more glass bottles I'll definitely make more.

Gerle Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 10:03pm
post #11 of 16

Homemade vanilla does make excellent homemade ice cream.  You won't want to get store bought vanilla ice cream any more after this.  It makes such a big difference!

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 10:10pm
post #12 of 16

gifting homemade vanilla/vanilla sugar is a beautiful thing

*Last edited by -K8memphis on 13 Jan 2016 , 10:27pm
Claire138 Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 10:11pm
post #13 of 16

I've been making ice cream for a long time (I make a custard one and use the whites for macaroons) but this is the first time I've added my home made vanilla and however good it was before it's just sublime now. I don't use it in cake though bc I'm not sure how much of a difference that will make esp in something like the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe.

On another note, Is it worth buying an ice cream machine? I make mine by hand but that also means I have to mix it every 30 mins until it's creamed properly and frozen which is time consuming plus I have to plan my ice cream day to make sure I'm home all day.

Gerle Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 10:18pm
post #14 of 16

To me, it's definitely worth buying an ice cream machine.  Depending on how much you love homemade ice cream would answer your question, though.  If you've been making it for a long time as you said and you enjoy it, having a machine would definitely cut down on how long it takes you to make it.  I feel it's worth the investment.  There are a lot of them out there and you'll have to decide on what type and model you want.  The kind I have is definitely large and noisy, but it's the kind I'm used to and for the size of my family, I need it as it makes a lot.  Some of the others are smaller and more convenient for lots of people, but this is what works for our family.  I think you'll be glad you invested in one if making ice cream currently takes you a long time.

Claire138 Posted 13 Jan 2016 , 10:23pm
post #15 of 16

Thanks, it's on my 'I might one day buy' list. Just can't decide...

craftybanana2 Posted 14 Jan 2016 , 3:23am
post #16 of 16

@Gerle  Just click on the refresh button, then you will see the new post. That's also how I am able to post even if it says I'm not logged in when I just did. :)

@Claire138  I would also love to make ice cream, but I have no room in my teeny tiny freezer for the bowl.

Now to make room for potential bottles of alcohol so my toddler can't get to them. He loves toting things around, especially containers. He just about dropped my 4lb container of sugar trying to put it on the counter, thankfully I caught it and now it's yet another thing on my counter (out of his reach). I wasn't so lucky with the eggs. ha ha :)

Edited to add another thought: which I just realized was my mind rambling from being too tire. It's off to bed for me.

*Last edited by craftybanana2 on 14 Jan 2016 , 3:41am

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