D.I.Y. Vanilla Extract
Friends often ask me what is my favorite type of vanilla extract. Do I believe that imitation extracts are fine or do I prefer pure Madagascar Vanilla from fine kitchen stores? My answer is neither. For years I have used the same glass bottle of vanilla beans mixed with vodka. Over time I have added more beans and continually top off with vodka whenever needed. I store my bottle in the pantry at room temperature. I have friends who have topped off the same bottle of vanilla beans for ten years and more! Your baked goods will taste delicious with your homemade extract.
- Whole vanilla beans (at least three to start off with, you can add more over time later). I buy my beans at Penzeys Spices online or at their stores.
- Plain Vodka. Resist the temptation to buy vanilla vodka to make it more vanilla-y. Good old plain vodka is the best.
- A mason jar, a jar with cap, or any fun decorative bottle that you can use over the years.
Split vanilla beans lengthwise to open them up. Place beans in a clean jar or bottle. Fill jar with vodka covering vanilla beans. Store in a cool, dry place (pantry, spice cupboard). I avoid storing spices and extracts near my oven or stove.
In about two weeks your beautiful vanilla extract will be ready to use. Use it 1:1 in recipes – if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, use 1 teaspoon of your homemade extract.
Fill with fresh vanilla beans anytime (keep the old ones in the bottle) and top with fresh vodka when needed.