Vanilla Extract Starter

I gave away some Vanilla Extract for Christmas, and it was pretty popular.  I ran out of my 4 month batch pretty quickly.  I almost broke open the second pint slated for 6 months, but was able to hold off.  Next Christmas there will be enough for all!

The first batch was small and before my blog, so lets get bigger!  The golden ratio is 1 ounce of vanilla beans to 1 cup of vodka.  B grade beans offer a more robust flavor, and a good clean multiple distillation vodka shouldn’t impart anything extra.  I learned the basic technique from Vanilla Review.  You can do it too, in just a few easy steps!

1.  Obtain vanilla beans, jars, and vodka.


2.  Cut vanilla into small segments.  (finger for scale, 4 ounces pictured)

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3.  Place bean fragments into jars.

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4.  Fill with vodka, and seal.  A date label is useful.

DSC_0006 Resized 5.  WAIT!!!  Unfortunately, this is the hard part.  My 4 month batch turned out pretty well, but I really want these to go the full 6 months.  Occasional shaking is required.  This batch was with 8 ounces of beans going into two quart jars filled to the top with vodka.  Check back in 6 months for the extract reveal.

Vanilla Extract – Gift Ideas

Vanilla extract is ubiquitous in baking and the good stuff is always pretty expensive.  Before I started blogging I began a batch of vanilla extract back in August.  The instructions said to let it sit for 4-6 months.  I had enough to make two batches, so one is getting popped open now for christmas gifts and the other gets to wait another month or two for maximum vanillattude.

I got all my information from Vanilla Review.  They have a good recipe and more details on vanilla beans than you shake a stick at!  The quick version is to mix 1oz of beans per 8oz of vodka.  Cut up the beans nice and small; splitting them is even better!  Put it all in a jar, and wait 4-6 months.  Shake occasionally.

While I spent maybe an hour total to start these, then bottle them, it doesn’t quite qualify as a “quick” gift idea.  Still, get them started now, bottle over the summer, and they will last forever!  A cute label helps the gift go a long ways.  Giving your baker friends vanilla extract means more cookies for you!  What a deliciously devious gift.