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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

Just for the record, we don't keep alcohol in our home. Well, there is wine and the occasional beer but never Vodka. So when I bought a bottle to make Vanilla Extract my kids were hysterical "what cha gonna do with that Mom?" "Make Vanilla" "I don't believe you - Vanilla is alcohol? So your trying to get us drunk?" Uh, huh that is just what I am doing! Not!

I am however, being frugal and thrifty and proactive by making Vanilla and Cinnamon Extracts. It is so easy peasy lemon squeezy I can hardly take it.

Vanilla Beans and Vodka - Day 1

Cinnamon Sticks and Vodka Day 1

Vanilla Extract:
One of these or a combination:
Vodka, rum, glycerin, or apple cider vinegar
vanilla beans (I used 2)
Jars (we used a pint jar)
Make sure your jar is clean and sterile. Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and put into the jar. Fill with your liquid, tighten lid and shake, shake, shake. Store in a dark place and shake every week or so, as you think about it. After about 3 months it will be done.
*It needs a dark location so the sunlight doesn’t degrade the flavor, and an air-tight seal (just be sure to tighten the lid by hand - it doesn't need a special tool) to prevent evaporation.
*Vanilla beans can be found in the spice section of your grocery store or ordered online. They are expensive, but you will get a lot of flavoring out of them and in the end it will be cheaper than buying the extract.

After about 6 weeks

I haven't decided yet if I am sharing my Extracts or hogging them all all to myself. Wouldn't a bottle of this make a great gift?

Updated to say - as you use up the vanilla just add more liquor back into the jar and you will have a continual supply of vanilla!!

I am linking this up with Mrs. Jenny Matlock's Alphabethursday - E is for Extracts!
And the wonderful Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop!!
I am also linking this to Life as Mom's Frugal Friday!


  1. I've always wanted to make my own vanilla extract. I don't think I realized how easy it was. I don't have any vodka in the house either but I have plenty of wine. I guess that won't work..... Thanks for sharing this easy peasey recipe Christy! :o)

  2. I have had vanilla "aging" for a while now, and will share at Christmas with my kids. But the idea of cinnamon and vanilla, WOW. thanks.

  3. i make vanilla as christmas gifts..everyone is so impressed and i let them be! :) i have never thought of cinnamon extract..what do you use it for? does it taste really cinnamony? i am so intrigued.

  4. How cool is that?! I mean, really. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a fun blog! I came over from Jenny's Alphabet Thursday! I will be back when I can spend more time. Thanks for sharing

  6. Well, that's my next project for sure!! Thanks for a great post!

  7. Brenda - it is so super easy - I don't know about wine - the directions I found said you can use apple cider vinegar, maybe wine would work?? LOL

    Melynda - you are so generous! I hope your kids know what an awesome gift it is!

    Christy - I haven't tasted it yet but it smell amazing! I plan on adding it to apple butter (just a bit) and apple cider, tea, I think it would be great in coffee and I remember a hard candy from when I was a kid I would love to try making with it. I am looking forward to trying it!

    Stef - you make me blush LOL!

    noexcuses - I hope you stop back by!

  8. Is there a difference in flavor? Is it better than pure extract? Very evocative "E" post. Joni

  9. This is why I love alphabe-Thursday! I always learn something new and useful. Now that we no longer live near Mexico, nor near anyone who travels to Mexico frequently, I've been buying tiny little bottles in the grocery store -- no more! And this is a super gift idea, too!

  10. How refreshing that you posted this! Great job!

  11. This looks wonderful. I vote for keeping some and sharing some. It would be great for holiday cooking.

  12. I like the idea of making my own extracts. Never think about it before but as you explain it. It sounds very easy.

    Thanks for sharing such a great idea.


  13. YES! This would make a fabulous gift, Christy! I've always "meant" to make my own, but haven't. I love the cinnamon extract,! You've inspired me :) Gorgeous hearth and soul post, chica!

  14. how Exciting that I can make my own extracts - the timing is almost right for the holidays : )
    ps and thanks for your tip about ebates. I'll have to check it out!

  15. Ooh! This is definitely going on my to do list. And I agree - a perfect holiday gift. I wish I had started a few months ago so it would be ready in time. Next year for sure :)

  16. Homemade vanilla, what a great idea and it sounds so simple.


  17. Thanks for the recipe! This is one I didn't have!
    Happy E Day!

  18. Just found cinnamon sticks, vodka and a small jar. Now I have cinnamon extract started. Thanks!

  19. Awesome Melynda!!! I told you it was easy!

  20. I would give a little away to someone I really really liked and then keep the rest for me!!!

  21. RMW - I think that is what I am going to do - just not sure who the lucky recipients are going to be!

    Joni - I am not sure about the flavor as I haven't tasted mine yet but I have read where it is more intense so you need less - my guess is that it is just homemade "pure extract". I know sometimes HFCS is snuck in on different extracts and because it is so easy I can control the ingredients.

    Amanda - you will be so thrilled at the cost savings alone!

    Thanks PJ Joan and Jackie!

    JDaniel'sMom - I will be sharing just not sure with who - and yes I am excited to try it with my holiday baking!

    Mely - it is SO easy - you have to do it!

    Heather - you could do this in your sleep, chica - it is like a no recipe, recipe and you control the ingredients!

    Jess - you will be glad you did!


  22. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. This is great! I'm going to try this right away.

    Plan B

  23. I always admire people who do these things. You've almost got me convinced to try my hand at it.


  24. Hm, I really should make some for gifts. Last year I just gave out vanilla vodka :D You should also try it with rum as the base. It produces a much deeper-tasting extract that's so so nice. The cinnamon is a brilliant idea.

  25. Sounds scrumptious...I do think using rum would be nice, especially a dark rum like that wonderful Mt. Gay from Barbados.

  26. Hi Cristy, this is so cool, and it reminds me that I have a pack of vanilla beans that I need to use...I don't know if they go bad or not?? Also, I have a jar on the counter where I am attempting to make some orange extract with orange peel and vodka. We will see how it turns out!

    And thanks for stopping by...since I gave everyone I know mustards for Christmas last year, I might give them extracts this year! :-)

  27. That's it - I'm off to get the vodka tomorrow - I am so making this vanilla, and if you know me and happen to be reading this, now you know what you're getting for Christmas.

    Christy - love the sound of those cheese shortbreads too, even though they didn't go down too well with the kids :-)


  28. I just got the coolest little jars that would be so perfect to fill and give out as gifts. You just helped me decide what my gifts will be to some of my foodie friends!! These are so easy and awesome!! Yay!

  29. Fantastic Idea, especially with Christmas around the corner. Thanks for a great idea.
    Soo cool.

  30. What an excellent link to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "E".

    My daughter and I made a bunch of extracts last year and they are delicious.

    Our favorite was one that combined pink peppercorns, vanilla beans, star anise, allspice and a cinnamon stick.

    I have never had any success with glycerine, though!

    Thanks for linking this delicious post.


  31. Christy - I got so excited when I read this because I have the exact same pint of vanilla in my cupboard. I almost emailed you a picture, but then thought how boring that would be.

    I like to make my vanilla with brandy. Once the bottle empties a bit, I just top it off with more alcohol. That way, you can get years of mileage out of just a few beans.