If you're a fan of Vanilla Extract, you're a fan of this post! We all know how expensive PURE vanilla extract is in stores. I'm not talking about the little $1.99 bottle of imitation flavored extract, I'm talking about that $6.99 and up of REAL extract.
Forget about paying those prices anymore. Do yourself a favor and make your own like I have for years now. Here's what you need....ready....concentrate......
- (5) Gourmet Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans (whole)
- Any decent Vodka
- Glass bottle with tight fitting lid
Whew, did you get all that? All kidding aside, you really only need those two ingredients. It really is that simple. I buy my beans from Beanilla (not an affiliate link). I like the quality, pricing, and free shipping. Of course, you may find them at local health food stores or cheaper elsewhere online but be careful, you don't want subpar beans.
Here's what do to....
Split beans lengthwise, leaving the seeds. Put it in the bottle. If whole bean is too long, simply cut it to size. Then fill with vodka. That's it!
If this is your first time making it, store the bottle in a cool, dark place (like the pantry or cabinet) for 4-6 months. Give it a little shake when you notice it sitting there. There's no rule of thumb, just a shake here and there. And yes, it's a long time to wait but once you've started the extract, you won't have to wait as long next time.
When it's about half empty, simply add more vodka and wait a couple of weeks before using it. There's no need to replace the beans, they will continue to produce flavor for up to 7 YEARS! That's not a typo, I did type 7 YEARS.
If you use a lot of extract, simply start two bottles and rotate them.
So let's compare. I'm using the pricing from Banilla for comparisons.
- A 16oz bottle of real vanilla extract is $44.95 from Banilla. A true gourmet extract will easiily run you in that price range. But remember, when it's gone, it's gone.
- Purchasing 5 whole beans is $9.95 plus another $15 for a 1.75-litre vodka (depending where you live) and if you have to buy the bottle, let's add another $5 for a total of $30 initial investment. Keep in mind the beans will last up to 7 years, the bottle lasts forever and if you only use that bottle of vodka for the extract, that 1.75-litre will make 5, 12oz bottles. Bottom line: 5 bottles of extract will cost you about $5 per 12oz bottle (beans & vodka) for pure, gourmet extract.
- Banilla also sells a starter kit for $18.95 but does not include the vodka so add a few more dollars.
- If you have a HomeGoods store near you, they also sell starter kits for around $13 but I can't attest to the quality of the beans or how long they've already been sitting.
Bottom line....making your own will not only have superior taste, it's also cost effective AND you know EXACTLY what is in it.