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Homemade Vanilla Extract, Day 1

I love the taste of vanilla, the scent of vanilla candles, vanilla is so wonderful. Last December, I stumbled on The Italian Dish blog. I don’t remember how I found it, but am so glad I did. I found a Elaine’s recipe/tutorial on making Homemade Vanilla Extract.

I couldn’t believe just how simple it is. Two ingredients… and 6-8 weeks and that’s it!

Elaine recommended a couple of places to buy bottles. I ordered 25 4-ounce clear Boston round bottles with lids from Specialty Bottle Company for 67 cents each for a whopping $16.97, shipping was almost as much, but for a total of $27.71 (we don’t have sales tax in Oregon) I was very happy. They’re from Seattle so they didn’t take long to get here. Shipping was nearly immediate. I was VERY impressed and completely recommend buying from them. I didn’t have buy 25 bottles, but wanted to have extras just in case.

Elaine also recommended Beanilla for the beans but every time I tried to pay with PayPal I got an error message so I gave up. I didn’t want to take the time to call and place my order. It was frustrating because they have so many different varieties of vanilla and I wanted to order a sampler… just to see (taste) the differences. I may try again, but for now I picked up some Nielsen Massey whole vanilla beans around town at a fairly reasonable price.

As I mentioned, it takes 6-8 weeks for the vanilla extract to be ready, so I thought I would chronicle the progress. Yeah, it’s a long process, but I’m curious how it will progress.

So without further delay, let’s get started…

Cast of Characters: Whole Vanilla Beans, unflavored Vodka and bottles with lids.

Here are the 4-ounce clear Boston round bottles I ordered.
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Wash them and let them dry (now that sounds kind of funny given they’re going to have liquid in them, but I didn’t want to have water in the bottles when I started).
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Cut your whole vanilla beans in half.
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Slice them down the middle to expose the tiny vanilla caviar (this caviar isn’t fishy ;) ). Do not scrap the caviar out, just leave it exposed.
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Place 2-4 vanilla pieces in the jar – I put 3 pieces (1 and a half beans).
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Using a funnel, pour the vodka into the jar and cover the beans.
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Screw a lid on tightly and Ta-Da! You’re done.
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Elaine says that as you use it you can add more vodka and it lasts “practically forever”. As the flavor starts to fade, add a couple more vanilla beans and you’re set to never run out of vanilla extract again. Can I hear a YIPPPEEEE! :D

I ran out of vodka, so I only got two bottles done tonight. Am hitting the liquor store after work to get more and then I’ll finish all the rest.

I plan on taking pictures each week so I can see how it progresses. Be sure to come back and see for yourself.
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Have you ever made Homemade Vanilla Extract?
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