I have been a long proponent of a certain brand of vanilla and vanilla bean paste because, well, it is so darn good in all my baked goods. BUT, this year I decided to challenge myself to make my own and you know what I discovered? It is SO SIMPLE to make vanilla extract! I mean, really, really easy. With a few items, you can make homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps!
This little experiment took hold after watching Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) on the Food Network and her use of the term “use good vanilla.” Here I always thought I was using good vanilla, but then I thought about it and wondered, what exactly made the vanilla good? The bean pods? The vodka? I determined, it requires both; and both are what the user- you and me- decide is “good” for our taste.
So, I set out to find a few glass jars, Madagascar vanilla beans from Penzey’s Spices, and my preferred vodka, Grey Goose. I combed Target for the jars and found a nice small decorative jar for $1 and a nice big Kilner canning jar. I liked this one because of the shape and ridges and because it is so large, I will have homemade vanilla for ever and ever! I chose the vanilla beans from Penzey’s because they are ginormous, plump, and for the cost, you get your money’s worth for sure.
And, I’ve basically just shared what you will need for making homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps! Yep. That easy.
- A glass (airtight) jar.
- Vanilla Beans.
Of course, the only extra thing you will need is patience because once you put these items together, you need to wait at least 30 days for the flavors to brew into a glorious amber liquid full of flavor every baker would be envious of having on their pantry shelf.
So what are the exact steps? Here is the ratio I followed:
For the small jar, I used 5-6 vanilla beans; for the large canning jar I used about 10 beans.
I used a sharp pairing knife and spilt from the mid point of the bean, cut it in half; so it looked like a “Y”. By splitting the pods, the minute beans fall out and filter into the liquid making it super good.
Shoved the split beans in the jars and then covered them completely with vodka.
Place the jars in a dark cool place and give them a gentle shake every so often. You will see the beans swirl and that is a good thing.
30 days later you have liquid gold! Homemade Vanilla will never go bad- just be sure to always keep the beans covered with vodka. If you take out a bean to use, replace it. Use a few tablespoons for baking, top off the liquid.
This will be a perfect gift for the holidays next year!
- 5-15 Madagascar Vanilla Bean Pods
- Favorite Vodka
- Find a clean, dry airtight glass jar (such as a sealed spice or canning jar)
- Split bean pods in half from mid-point down forming a "Y"
- Place in jar and cover completely with vodka
- Place in dark cool place and shake gently every few days.
- Allow to steep for 30 days.
- Replace used vanilla beans with fresh and always keep beans covered with vodka.
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