Vanilla extract is a common flavoring used in many baked goods. It also has several uses beyond baking.
Imagine never having to buy vanilla extract again. Making your own vanilla extract will save you money over time and provide you with a huge beginning batch that can easily be topped off for a never-ending supply of vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract boasts an indefinite shell life so long as it is stored properly at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
By McCormick and company (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons
Pure homemade vanilla extract is free from fillers, artificial flavors, and chemicals that can be found in store-bought vanilla extract or imitation vanilla. Making it at home gives you the power to choose from different vanilla flavor undertones, depending on which variety of vanilla bean you choose. For example, Madagascar beans have sweet and buttery undertones, Tahitian beans have cherry-chocolate and licorice undertones, and Indian beans have a sweet woodsy undertone. There are many more varieties to choose from. These can typically be found in the natural food section or natural food stores and can also be purchased online.
Get ready to boost your baking and more to a whole new level of flavor and scent with this super simple recipe.
6-10 vanilla beans, approximately 1 ounce (30 grams)
1 litre (700-1000ml) bottle of alcohol, such as bourbon, vodka, or brandy
Method: 1. Slice the vanilla beans long ways to open them.
2. Drop them all in the bottle of alcohol, or other glass container with a lid.
3. Shake weekly.
4. Wait for 6-8 weeks. The waiting might be the hardest part of this recipe.
Brewing Batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract - own image
Enjoy the flavor and scent of homemade vanilla extract! Turn your batch into a never-ending supply by topping off the bottle as needed. The beans will continue to instill their flavor and scent, just be sure the beans are always submerged in alcohol (keep them happy). You may also add beans over time if necessary.
This recipe is virtually impossible to mess up, so don’t worry too much about specific measurements other than making sure you have at the very least 6-10 beans.
Uses other than baking: Now that you have a huge batch of homemade vanilla extract, below is a list of a few extra uses for it.
1. Flavor yogurt, kefir, and smoothies, as well as oatmeal, pancakes, waffles.
2. Freshen up the refrigerator. Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract and leave in the fridge.
3. Use as a perfume. Place a dab on each wrist, smell good and feel relaxed.
4. Make a refreshing room spray. Mix 1 tablespoon with 1 cup of water, place in a spray bottle and use as needed throughout the house. Adjust amounts to your liking.
5. Natural mosquito, fly, and tick spray. Mix 2 ounces of vanilla extract with 2 ounces of water, place in a spray bottle, spray as needed on bare skin.
6. Add to homemade beauty products for a relaxing and rich scent.
Tip #1: Keep the large batch out of reach of children.
Tip #2: For a non-alcohol version, I have seen recipes using food-grade glycerin in place of the alcohol at a 1:1 ratio.
Tip#3: The alcohol you choose does not need to be high quality – any will do.