So, you can make vanilla extract?! Yes, you can. And it’s ridiculously easy, takes two minutes, and tastes great. The catch? Once you’ve assembled the bottle, you need to let it sit for two months so the vanilla bean can infuse the vodka. You also need to shake the bottle every week or so to help the infusion process.
I’d seen recipes all over for vanilla extract, but I could never stomach the cost of the large bottle of vodka plus the cost of several vanilla beans (ouch!) plus the cost of a decorative glass bottle to hold the extract.
Then I saw this idea in a book called Edible DIY: use a small bottle of vodka, and drop a single vanilla bean right into the bottle. One vanilla bean ($2-$3) and one bottle of vodka ($3-$4) is definitely doable.
What you need:
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 200 mL bottle of vodka
- knife and cutting board
- measuring cup
- fine-mesh sieve
- glass bottle (optional)
Time: Two minutes, plus a few seconds here and there to shake the bottle every week,; two months wait for extract to be ready to use.
Freezeable: Not recommended. The extract will keep for a long time.
Serves: Makes nearly 8 oz. of extract.
Multiplying the recipe: You can use a regular-size bottle of vodka, you’ll just need to add more vanilla beans. I like the 200 mL size bottle, so I used one vanilla bean per bottle of vodka.
Homemade Vanilla Extract:
Open the bottle of vodka. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Cut it into 2″ segments. Drop these into the bottle of vodka; seal and shake gently.
Label the bottle with the date two months from today; that will be when the vodka is thoroughly infused with vanilla and the vanilla will be useable.
Every week or so, pull out the bottle and shake gently to redistribute the vanilla bean pieces.
When the vanilla extract is ready, remove the vanilla bean (or keep it in for a stronger flavor and be careful not to pour it into your measuring spoon!). Your extract is now ready to use!