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Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Vanilla extract is expensive to buy, but an essential in so much baking. Sarabeth and I typically overuse vanilla extract if it is possible when making things like chocolate chip cookies. And so when I discovered, like most things, thanks to Pinterest, that you can easily make homemade vanilla extract, I knew it was something that I would have to try.

Thankfully my Dad is willing to try anything I want to in the kitchen, we did a little research on vanilla extracts this past weekend.  We learned that you can make vanilla extract out of vodka (what is traditionally used), but you can also make it from rum or even bourbon. The notes of the extract will be slightly different, so we are told, based on which type of alcohol is used. Vanilla beans grown in different parts of the world also affect the end flavors.

We found cheap bottles at Marshall’s and had vanilla beans we had purchased in India, so had very little expense at this first trial run on our extract.

Most things that we read said that you are to use between 3-5 vanilla beans per cup of alcohol, and then let the extract steep for 6-8 weeks.

Here’s what we did:

Homemade Vanilla Extract 2 ways | Flats to Lofts



2 C cheap vodka

10 vanilla beans



2 C rum

6 vanilla beans

You let the extract steep in a dark, dry place for about 8 weeks. You shake the extract every day.

We are going to let them steep for 8 weeks, so I added the start date on the back, assuming we will forget and lose track of time in the future. I also labeled the bottles since the extract darkens noticeably each day, and again, I’m afraid it will reach the point when we won’t be able to tell them apart.

These are trial runs to see if you can taste a difference with the different alcohols and the different number of beans. So, this is the start. Around Thanksgiving, we will get to try it. I hope it is worth the wait!


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