Monday, May 2, 2011

DIY Homemade Vanilla Tutorial

I decided to make some homemade vanilla for Christmas gifts this year.  I bought all the supplies and my sisters and mom are also doing some for gifts.

Here is what you will need:
  • 1.75 liter of  Vodka. low-mid grade is fine (if you read the ingredients on a bottle of vanilla extract, the first thing listed is alcohol)
  • 7 vanilla beans (you can add more if you would like)
  • Sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • 30; 2 oz (15; 4 oz) Amber colored bottle to dispense as gifts.

This process is so easy!  All you do is:
Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise (they stained my white cutting board, just an FYI)
Scoop out the inside of the bean. Just drag your knife along the inside of the bean. (optional, you could put them in sliced and not "scooped", but I thought it might speed up the extraction process)
 Drop the beans AND the "Scooped bean mush" in the bottle of Vodka.

Put the lid back on the bottle, shake it up and store it in a place away from direct sunlight and shake once a week or so. Let sit for at least 8 weeks.
The Vodka extracts the flavor and color from the vanilla beans.  This bottle has been sitting for about 3 weeks.  See how everything settles at the bottom?  That's why you shake it up every few days. The longer the bottle sits, the stronger the extract will be.  Homemade vanilla is not as dark as store bought vanilla, but it tastes wonderful!

I did a lot of research on what types of beans and the best prices for them.  I bought my beans from Amazon.  The link to the beans I bought is HERE.  They were $27.69 for a 1/2 pound.  I used a $5 Swagbuck gift card on them too so I paid $22.69. :)  I've used 35 beans among 5 bottles and I am going to add a few more per bottle over the summer.  I would estimate each 1/2 pound package has 60-70 beans in it.

I live in UT and this state is not very "liquor friendly". lol  I bought my first bottle from a UT liquor store and it cost me $24 after taxes.  Another lady in the store at the time was buying a bottle for her husband and was very excited it was on sale for $19.99 (ya, taxes on it were KILLER!).  I've heard from a friend in WY they can get them for $8 a bottle on sale.  I bought 4 more bottles while we were in Colorado and I paid $11 each after taxes.  ~So, moral of the story is.....if you live in Utah, want to make homemade vanilla, are going out of state this summer and you are your Vodka out of state. :)

I haven't purchased my little bottles yet.  I'm still researching prices.  It seems they are about .70 a bottle and they are cheaper if you can buy in bulk.  I don't have to have the bottles until Christmas time, so I have time to search. ;)

To bottle the extract you can strain it through a coffee filter to get rid of the "floaties" and then bottle it and stick a cute little tag or label on it.  You can also leave part of a bean in the small bottle and instruct the receiver that they can refill with Vodka and start the process all over again with the bean inside the bottle.

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  1. This is on my to do list. And vanilla sugar! Yumm!!

  2. You are awesome! I am all about making my own little kitchen concoctions and this one is great! Saw your link on Tip Junkie :) Excited to browse some more of your blog

    Delighted Momma

  3. Goodness, you made a lot of vanilla! I started 2 tiny bottles about a month ago. My fingers have been crossed ever since that they will turn into tasty vanilla :)

  4. It is a lot of vanilla, but between the 4 of us we should each get about 35 4 ounce bottles to give away. That's not too extreme. :) If I were doing them all myself, THAT would be a TON of vanilla! lol

  5. Great idea. I've seen it a couple times but never tried it. I might just have to try it as I love vanilla. I put it in just about all my baking and even some non baking.

    Seriously $5 in taxes on that bottle seems outragous. I'm not sure the cost of that bottle here in Minnesota but I'm thinking around $15. I'm surprised at the price differences. I guess it pays to be on the look out on vacation.

  6. Thanks. Will be using this for gifts for my family and ladies at church too. *-*

  7. I have always wanted to try this and its great to see you post the pictures not only starting the project but after a few weeks. Thanks for all the tips that you discovered through doing this project. I'm sure it won't cost as much for the liquor here in PA, but I might have to split the cost of those beans with some friends and have a "making vanilla" party (catchy name will have to come later!)

  8. That was my plan too! But then I offered to put my mom's beans in her bottle and then drive it to her house. She then said "Yes, why don't you do that, and just leave it with your bottle and shake them all when you shake yours....then I'll just take credit for making it." HA HA

  9. Hi there! Nice tutorial I may have to try this, thanks for sharing! New follower from Wandering Wednesday Hop. Drop on by and see me if you get the chance, thanks!


  10. Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

  11. I'm finally catching up on Wandering Wednesday's Blog Hop and have followed you via GFC.
    Happy Mother's Day! :-)

  12. You now have a new follower, Can you please Follow back?

    Tweet with me on Twitter to.!/CHRISTY1986P

    Become a fan on my Christina's voice Fan page.!/pages/Christinas-Voice/133218916750446

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