When I started doing a lot of baking, I noticed that recipes call for ‘pure vanilla extract’ when I was using vanilla essence. I didn’t think it made a big difference to use the synthetic essence, but after some searching on the internet, I got convinced that I was missing out by not using the real thing. I couldn’t find vanilla extract in French grocery stores, so I just decided to make my own. And it’s so freaking easy that I’m dying to share it with you all – you’ll never use store bought vanilla essence again!
Things Needed For Vanilla Extract At Home
- 4-5 vanilla beans (choose plump, oily looking beans and avoid dry ones)
- 1 cup vodka
- A clean glass jar
Here’s how to make your own vanilla extract:
1. Place your vanilla beans on a chopping board and cut them lengthwise, leaving about 1 inch intact on each end.
2. Put the vanilla beans in the glass jar, along with any of the vanilla scrapings that escaped while you were splitting the beans in half.
3. Measure out 1 cup (250ml) of vodka. I had Absolut vodka lying around, but frankly any cheap vodka will do. If you want to try a different flavour, try bourbon instead. Vodka just gives the most clean vanilla flavour.
4. Pour the vodka into the jar and give it a good shake. Place the jar in a cool, dark place.
5. The vanilla extract needs to be stored for about 6-8 weeks before it is ready to use. Just remember to shake the bottle from time to time.
6. As you start using the vanilla extract, you can keep adding more vodka to the jar. Every few months, replace the vanilla beans in the jar. And there you have it – a never ending supply of pure vanilla extract!
Isn’t this easy? It takes just 5-10 mins of preparation and while 6-8 weeks is a long time to wait, when you finally open the jar and smell the vanilla extract (trust me, it smells like heaven!), the wait will totally be worth it! And this homemade extract will add the most delicious vanilla flavour to all your baked goods, much more than the artificial vanilla essence!
Have you ever made vanilla extract at home? Does this DIY look like something you would try? Do let me know in the comments!
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