I started making vanilla myself by accident. Years ago, I was struggling for Mother’s Day gift ideas. I need something that said “I love you mom”, for less than $20. I was flipping through a Martha Stewart Living mag, and came across a recipe for making your own vanilla extract. Genius! It was pretty cheap and easy to make. I recycled a Thai sauce bottle, made a label and voila!, a homemade gift that mom would love. When I launched edith + ethel, I created my own vanilla extract blend, and started making it by the gallon. Here is a very simple recipe for making your own extract. (I’ve modified Martha’s recipe)
Note: There’s a bit of debate over the quality of vodka and beans that should be used, as well as how long you should steep the beans. Stolichnaya is my vodka of preference, but any vodka will do. You can also use Rum or Bourbon but this will add flavor to your vanilla. Beans should steep a minimum of 2 months before use, but the longer it sits, the better.
These are grade “B” beans. They’re not as pretty and plump as grade “A”, but since they’re going in a dark bottle, never to be seen again, it’s ok.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- 4 vanilla beans
- 8oz vodka
- Cutesy or manly bottle
- Patience (this is key)
Give the beans a little massage to help release some of the beans from the pod. Split the beans lengthwise and place them in the bottle. Pour the vodka in the bottle, cover and shake. Place the bottle in a cool, dark place and let steep for at least two months. Give the bottle a gentle shake every few weeks, or when you can remember.