Homemade Vanilla Extract

Discussion in 'Food & Spirit Recipes' started by Zany_in_CO, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Jul 16, 2017 #1

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

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    With the price of Vanilla Extract rising, a gift of Homemade Vanilla Extract may be a much-appreciated gift idea for not only the bakers on your Christmas list, but for friends, family members, co-workers, teachers, etc. as well.

    VANILLA EXTRACT: Easy peasy. Here's the method:

    • 10 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
    • 1 liter vodka (the best available)

    Use scissors to split beans, leave last inch or so unsplit to facilitate removal. Drop into the liter of vodka. Leave in the dark to infuse. Wait 12 weeks, or longer. The longer it infuses the stronger. Remove the old bean and bottle with a piece of fresh vanilla bean. (I used Tahitian.)

    OPTION: Add simple sugar syrup (1 teaspoon per cup of vodka) to the extract to sweeten it. This is what they do in most commercial varieties to create a nice sweet aftertaste. I like to use a little dark rum instead.

    TIP: Once dry, cut up or grind the used-up beans and add them to sugar.

    ETA: Great product for sale at Christmas Craft Shows & Markets
     
  2. Jul 16, 2017 #2

    The Efficacious Gentleman

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    Like this a lot! Simple, but effective. Plus, alcohol infused vanilla in my sugar sounds good
     
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  3. Jul 16, 2017 #3

    IrishLass

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    I make my own all the time, only I use a lot more beans per vodka.

    As the excerpt that Zany posted says, vanilla beans are very dear right now. The following article explains the surprising details of what is really going on: http://www.vanillaqueen.com/expensive-vanilla/ (it's actually much more complicated and involved than what the excerpt from the NPR article above states).

    A few years ago I used to be able to buy bulk grade B Madagascar vanilla beans for $49.95 per lb.. Right now, the same amount of grade B Madagascar vanilla beans sells for $339.00. Thankfully, I have enough homemade extract to last me a little while....hopefully enough to tide me over until the crisis rights itself.


    IrishLass :)
     
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  4. Jul 17, 2017 #4

    BattleGnome

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    I now feel super blessed that I received a bottle of homemade vanilla extract in a swap last year. I've only opened the bottle to smell it but now I'm debating if I should hoard it for a while.

    I guess now is the time to get used to almond extract while they figure out this shortage.
     
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  5. Jul 17, 2017 #5

    lenarenee

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    The last bottle - and I do mean last - I looked at was Costco's Kirkland brand - which is mostly water. $46.
     
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  6. Jul 17, 2017 #6

    Seawolfe

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    I like to make my vanilla extract with a lotta beans and all dark rum :) Glad I did a bulk buy of grade B beans last year.
     
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  7. Jul 17, 2017 #7

    Arimara

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    I'm in trouble. I need to make more vanilla. I have plenty still but... I like having a lot more for my consumption.
     
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  8. Jul 17, 2017 #8

    earlene

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    That's really sad. I don't buy or use vanilla extracted in alcohol. But I don't use it much in cooking, so I am not worried. But it is good to know why the prices are rising. Thank you, Zany & IrishLass for the information.
     
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  9. Jul 17, 2017 #9

    shunt2011

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    I too make my own vanilla and use way more than Zany. IL got me started in a post sometime ago and bought severa pounds of vanilla beans for that purpose. So, I have enough to last me some time and plan on giving as gifts during the holidays.
     
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  10. Jul 17, 2017 #10

    KristaY

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    A few years ago I made homemade vanilla as Christmas gifts for my family. I found pretty bottles at various stores so everyone got something a bit different. Then I decided to help clean up that pile of printed recipes we all accumulate and made a recipe file for each.

    I just used a 3" binder, created a cute cover sheet for the outside of the binder that had their name on it and lots of cute clip art related to food, then added dividers inside for each type of recipe. I included family favorite recipes in each section so I put in an appetizer, salad, soup, vegetable, main dish and dessert (the vanilla recipe was included in this section). In the very front of the binder I included a list of the websites I like for recipes and put it in a clear sheet cover. I left blank lines at the bottom so they could add their own favorite sites or other sources.

    Each person that received the recipe file and vanilla have told me they now have multiple binders and routinely refill the vanilla bottle with their homemade vanilla.:D
     
  11. Jul 17, 2017 #11

    Gaisy59

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    Homemade Vanilla

    I too have tried making my own vanilla for the first time. I have used more than the suggested beans as my 1 L bottle of vodka needed more, and I used a good vodka. I see some people added sugar, but is it really needed? Also, I started soaking the beans in November 2016 and it is now July 2017 and I really think it does take that long to get the color and scent coming out. Is anyone else finding the same thing or am I too fussy about my vanilla?

    PS: so far I have used about 15-20 beans for my bottle of vanilla and then when I poured it into decorative bottles for give away I added two fresh beans per bottle.
     
  12. Jul 18, 2017 #12

    IrishLass

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    What kind of beans did you use- grade A of grade B?

    In the US, if you use the FDA's specs for what they deem as being 'single-fold' vanilla (the kind labeled as 'pure vanilla extract' on US store shelves), you would need to use 3.2 ounces in weight of beans per every quart of alcohol (which is just a titch less than a liter), which is roughly 24 Grade-A beans or 32 Grade-B beans per quart respectively. If you used less than that, your extract would be weaker than the normal single-fold that that you can typically find on your local grocery store shelf.

    If less beans per alcohol are used than the FDA specs require, US law states that it's not allowed to be labeled for commercial sale as 'pure vanilla extract'. Not that that matters one way or the other to any of us, though, since none of us are offering up our homemade extract for sale, but if you want your homemade extract to be at least of comparable strength as to what you can typically buy at the grocery store, those specs are a very handy thing to use as a baseline when making your own.

    For what it's worth, I like to make double-fold, and although it rivals what I can buy at the store after only one month of steeping, I like to wait at least 3 months minimum before using for the first time or decanting for gift-giving. Mine is quite aromatic/flavorful and dark/opaque within 3 months of steeping:

    IMG_1201VanillaExtractSmall.JPG

    I don't add any sugar to mine- just the vanilla beans and vodka is all that is needed, and I use whatever 150-proof vodka is on sale at the store at the time.


    IrishLass :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  13. Jul 18, 2017 #13

    mx6inpenn

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    I used to sell homemade vanilla extract. I use 35 beans per quart and allow to sit for 6 months.
     
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  14. Jul 18, 2017 #14

    Gaisy59

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    Thank you ladies for that input. I feel better now about not adding sugar.

    I used Madagascar beans but not sure of the grade. I bought some at Bulk Barn and some at Costco. And Irish Lass after seeing your calculations I can see that I did not use enough and that is why it is taking longer.

    Also, just for my own use and as gifts.

    LOL and Canada does not have 150 proof so I'm out of luck there. Next time I go to the States i will pick some up.

    So I have the right idea and will continue as such. All the online recipes do not state that quantity of beans. Thanks for a better recipe!
     
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  15. Jul 18, 2017 #15

    Arimara

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    You can only extract so much from the beans. All you really need to do is add a few more vanilla beans to your extract to get it up to snuff. I make extremely small batches compared to the other ladies and token gents but I was only learning when I last made my vanilla.
     
  16. Jul 24, 2017 #16

    Gaisy59

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    I have decanted my vanilla into smaller bottles and added more beans. Its getting darker already and the aroma is picking up as well! I am a happy camper. Thanks
     
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  17. Aug 12, 2017 #17

    Kittish

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    For anyone looking to make their own vanilla extract, a small supplier I've used before has just gotten a small supply of beans. IndriVanilla.com is the name. I just ordered 1/8 of a pound to make a couple bottles of vanilla extract. Stuff is getting hard to find and expensive when I do find it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  18. Aug 12, 2017 #18

    Zany_in_CO

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    Thank you! :thumbup: I'm off to check them out...
     
  19. Aug 15, 2017 #19

    Kittish

    Kittish

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    Got my order in today. Very fresh beans, positively juicy. They don't smell quite as good as the first order I got from them, but then the beans probably were picked a little early and hurried through curing. I also discovered a stash of 15 beans that have been sitting in my baking cupboard for, oh, 5 years or so? They were still nice and pliable though, and smelled great, so into the alcohol they went, too. Means I get to make even more extract than I originally planned to!
     
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  20. Aug 31, 2017 #20

    mrjesmon20

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    I'll try it this coming weekend.
     

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