So I got sick of buying EXPENSIVE vanilla extract a few years ago. I decided there had to be a better way. I do a lot of baking and cooking from scratch so we’re always going through so much of it and at a high price tag.
It’s very easy to make your own – and MUCH less expensive! All you need is a handful of vanilla beans, vodka and a clean canning jar or old tomato sauce jar.
In the beginning I bought a higher grade of vodka such as Smirnof. Not top of the line, but not your bankers club variety. After doing this a while I tried the cheaper vodka without compromising the quality.
All you do is slice your vanilla beans lengthwise, just not all the way through. Put them in your jar and cover with enough vodka to fully cover the vanilla beans. If you don’t have enough vodka you can also cut them in half and then lengthwise. Put the lid on – and stick it in a cool place out of sunlight – I store mine on a shelf in the basement. Give it a shake when you think of it – I probably do once a week, sometimes its once a month.
The one catch to all of this is it does take time. I’ve used the new vanilla after a few months of putting the batch together. Ideally it should sit for 6 -12 months. Once you get started, its easier cause it will take you not go through a whole mason jar of vanilla in a short period of time.
I keep two or three jars going at a time. When I take some out – I pour in more vodka and rotate that jar to the back. I now use vanilla extract generously and don’t cry when a little gets spilled.
Give it a try – you can be free buying vanilla extract in as little as 2 months and on your way to saving some big bucks!