You pronounce my title like this….vuh nillll yuh. It’s just what I call it when I’m being silly. Anyways, I have researched DIY pure vanilla extract for months but was leery about buying one of the two ingredients needed…vodka. I’m LDS…alcohol is kinda sacrilegious. So then, my good friend we shall call Tracks (yes there’s a story there too but this is not the place for it) posted to her FB page about coming out of the liquor store and running into someone presumably LDS and how it could have looked and a vanilla making discussion ensued. I decided it was time I try my hand at it.
Ok so remember I told you earlier I’d post links to original recipes when I could remember them and then tell you how I modified it….well I don’t remember the blog I liked the best, but instructions on how to do it can be found here. She says it takes 6 months for the vanilla to be ready, but I’ve also seen
people blogs whose authors use theirs after just 6 weeks. Probably depends on the quality of your vodka (I can’t help you there I wouldn’t know top shelf from root cellar LOL) andyour vanilla beans. I bought my vanilla beans from a seller on Amazon. No, I don’t remember which one and I’m too excited to finish this post and move onto another DIY project to look it up. What I can tell you is that I got a pound of beans for $31.95 and they sent 1/8 of a pound free. They arrived today (I think I ordered them Friday) and they are DIVINE. I opened the 1/8th freebie package and whiffed it and whiffed it and whiffed it. MMMMMMMMMMM I love the smell of vanilla. There was about like 20 beans in the 1/8 lb pkg I got free. I opened the pound of beans and took out five more to add to the bottle.
Here’s my bottle immediately after being finished. This is a 1.75 liter bottle.
I had to pour about half a cup to a cup out of the bottle to make room for all the beans. If I was smart I would have saved it and made an ini mini bottle but I wasn’t that smart so down the sink it went. There are I think 25 beans in this bottle. It wasn’t anything super mathematical, most recipes I saw said 10 to 15 beans per 750 ml’s of vodka. I figured if I doubled it for my 1.75 liters of vodka it’d probably be alright. Plus my beans are HUGELY potent. I can STILL smell vanilla on my hands and it’s been hours and several hand washings since I sliced them in half.
This is SERIOUSLY one of the easiest DIY things I’ve ever done. Even easier than my one ingredient DIY glue dots. Just cut the beans in half to expose their pulpy guts…that’s the richest part, drop in the bottle, shake it real good and then wait. Then wait some more, then wait some more, then shake the bottle rinse and repeat. Well repeat anyway.
Here’s what my bottle looked like just 3 hours later:
See…it’s browning already WOO HOO! I shook it up again when I got home and then put it in my storage unit. I’ll shake it again next week. Because people have said they can use theirs after 6 weeks, I’m gonna try it in 6 weeks and see what I think. I’ll keep you posted.
Now…why DIY vanilla extract you ask? Well cuz we use vanilla almost as much as we do laundry. I can only afford imitation vanilla and so we always double or triple the amount a recipe calls for. On average we probably use a bottle a month WITHOUT any “extra” baking. Just the normal stuff we do to feed our bellies. A bottle of pure vanilla extra is about 6 to 8 bucks at my local discount food store. Check out the savings reported in the link I posted above:
Quality Vodka (1.75 liters) $25 (YAY I got quality stuff cuz mine was in this price range)
Quality Vanilla Beans (40 at .43 cents per bean) $17.20 (note that 55 beans came in the 1/2 pound bag)
=$42.20 for a half-gallon of vanilla extract that is indeed pure.
Cost per ounce: $.66 cents
Simply Organic 2 oz. Best Price: $4.28 or $2.14 per ounce
Costco Vanilla Extract 16 oz. Best Price: $7 or $.44 cents per ounce (plus cost of membership)
Aldi Vanilla Extract 2 oz. Best Price: $1.99 or $.995 per ounce
We don’t have Aldi’s here so my cost per ounce is more like the $2 buck end. Hmmmmm….66 cents an ounce or over two dollars?!?!? I’m no rocket scientist but uh….