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Vanilla Extract

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:41 am
by NCPaul
To make your own vanilla extract:

200 g vanilla beans, split and cut in 1 inch pieces

375 mL 95 % alcohol

375 mL water

250 mL water to rinse beans after filtration

1 year :D

This will make double strength vanilla, sometimes called "Baker's Vanilla". The vanilla beans can be sourced over the internet (I found mine on eBay). They should be pliant and have an oily surface. Extra beans should be vacuum packed and stored in a cool, dark place. If you don't have access to 95 % alcohol, use a high proof vodka or other neutral spirit. The idea here is to extract 200 g of beans with a liter of alcohol at 35 % concentration final. For an 80 proof vodka (40 %), I would use 200 g beans, 875 mL of vodka and rinse with 125 mL of water. The beans should be covered with liquid in an air tight jar. The jar should be stored in the dark (I used the floor of a closet) and shaken occasionally. After six months, the extract will be marginal (IMHO). It will improve over a year and up to two. It is not a fast process. To test the extract put one drop in a spoonful of milk; the extract itself tastes horrible (don't ask me how I know :shock: ). It can then be filtered through a coffee filter paper and bottled in amber bottles.

My friends and family that bake will be getting bottles as presents this year, shhh - don't tell them. If you start now you will have a wonderful homemade present to give them next year to go along with your sausages and baked goods. Beans bought at a good price will of course lead to a cost savings. There is nothing wrong with a good quality of vanilla extract available commerically, I just thought forum members might be interested in making their own.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:22 pm
by saucisson
I would never have even considered it, what a fantastic idea, thanks !!


PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:01 am
by Chuckwagon
Hey Paul, Thanks for sharing that! What a great recipe and I'm sure lots of folks will use it. Now, if you could only tell me how to make a vanilla cologne or vanilla aftershave. All my life I've wanted to smell like the stuff. Got any ideas? Heck I'm so danged ugly, I need something else going for me just in case I get to dance with Jenny Haddow!
Best wishes, Chuckwagon

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:39 am
by NCPaul
I think you will have to depend on your personality. Vanilla cologne would only be icing on the cake. :D

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:15 am
by Chuckwagon
Ahhh Paul, I've been sweet on Jennie Haddow ever since I saw her first loaf of bread! I just thought a nice aromatic vanilla aftershave would mask the scent of all the BS I shovel out. (and that's not bean sprouts)! Say, are you going to put your vanilla extract in the Tom & Jerry mix when your family comes for Christmas?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:58 am
by jenny_haddow
:D :D :D :wink:

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:28 pm
by Nutczak
I do something very similar

I buy several packages of vanilla beans from (also on ebay)

I take about a dozen or more beans(depending on size) split them lengthwise, and drop them into a decent brand of bottled vodka
I make several quarts of the stuff at a time, and people usually get it as gifts along with cured meats, and jams made from wild berries we picked over the summer.
A few years ago, I had a friend that was drinking "Grey Goose" vodka and he had several empty airline-sized bottles, we used those as our gift packages.

I have heard that you should not store vanilla extract in plastic, can someone add the reasons why to this thread?

I also flavor bourbon with vanilla beans the same way for a bourbon sauce I make to accompany bread pudding.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:10 pm
by saucisson
Alcohol will leach the plastiscers out of some plastics, which may affect the taste and plasticicers aren't that good for you either so it maybe that is why you are warned off plastic in general.

However, some spirits are sold in plastic, eg some of the airline ones. I would think that would be perfectly suitable, if that's what you were thinking of.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:36 pm
by NCPaul
The main flavor and aroma component of vanilla extract is an aldehyde named vanillin. Aldehydes are easily oxidized to acids. Most plastic bottles are not sufficent oxygen barriers to protect vanilla extract. Deciding whether something can be stored in plastic bottles or not, depends on how sensitive the product is to oxygen over the product's lifetime. In addition, light has an adverse effect on vanilla extract (and most herbs and spices) so it should be kept in a dark bottle and / or a dark place.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:58 pm
by saucisson
Ah, thanks for that Paul... I'll stick with dark glass if I get a chance to make some.


PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:54 am
by anamosity
We make our own Vanilla.
We do a 5th at a time.
Lasts for a long time. When its down to half, we make a another bottle.
Minimum time is 3 months in a dark cupboard. We try to let it go for 6 months before opening the new bottle.
Cheaper than buying it at the store and tastes better.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:27 am
by Nutczak
Our local supermarket had a sale on 1-quart bottles of Gordons vodka (in glass) for $4.00/bottle,

I now have 4 quarts of Vanilla extract at different stages of doneness hiding in a dark cabinet. I figure I can bust into one of the bottles in about 1 week, the color and aroma seems just about perfect right now for the oldest bottle.

I split the beans before adding them to the vodka, but I do not scrape the insides, I shake the bottles at least once a week to mix the darker colored liquid at the bottom into the rest of the contents.

I figure each quart of my vanilla extract costs me less than $10.00USD to make, the typical selling price I see is around $7.00USD per ounce sold in 1-ounce bottles at the grocery store, I cannot afford to not make my own extract these days.

One other trick someone may want to consider, if you purcahse less expensive vodkas, you can filter it through an activated charcoal water filter pitcher (Britta) several times to improve the flavor and quality of that cheap vodka. It will remove the contaminants that are responsible for less than favorable flavors. (seen it on Mythbusters)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:52 pm
by Snags
I am growing my own Vanilla in the back yard, cant wait.

Re: Vanilla Extract

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:28 am
by NCPaul
I still do this (from the bottles I did it in 2012 and 2016), I have to tape the recipe to the lid now. :D