Friday, March 2, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I had the opportunity to travel to the spice islands of Indonesia last year and I came home with lots of fun memories and some vanilla beans. They were cheaper there than in the United States and looking back I wish I'd bought a lot more. I didn't know then what I would do with them but once I found out how easy it is to make your own vanilla extract I was so glad I had the beans. As with most homemade items this is wonderful stuff and adds great flavor to your baked goods.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
8oz glass jar with a tight fitting lid
3 medium or 1.5 large vanilla beans
vodka (or any liquor more than 40% alcohol)

Sterilize the glass jar in the dishwasher or boiling water. Slice the vanilla bean with a sharp knife lengthwise to expose the seeds. Place the beans in the jar and cover with liquor. Close the jar tightly and shake a few times. Place it in a cool, dark place- I used the back of a cabinet.  Leave the beans in the liquor for 8 weeks but shake the jar once or twice every week.
After 8 weeks remove 20% of the liquid, about 1.5 oz of beautiful vanilla extract. Top off the original jar with more liquor and shake again. You can add 1 or 2 more vanilla beans a year to the jar and if you keep "feeding" in this way the extract will last forever. You can remove the older beans when the jar gets too crowded.
Nicole & Joe in Bali, Indonesia


  1. I'll see if I can get some beans to bring to the US in the fall for you :-)


    1. That would be awesome Steph! I've actually been thinking of a few things I'd like from Indo...I'll let you know.



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