Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

 My days can be spent homemaking and coming up with new recipes in the kitchen. I am particularly excited today because I have another recipe to share with you. You may or may not know, but I have always been fond of baking and creating sweet desserts.

It is my weakness…. and my waist does not thank me. 

But ever since I was a teenager, I would enjoy baking cakes, cupcakes and muffins at home. It was a way for me to relieve any stress I was in. When I was in college my dad always knew I had some big midterm coming up cause I would find an excuse (when I had the extra time) to bake. 

Today things are a little bit different, I bake because I just really enjoy the process of turning a few ingredients into something my kids are going to be excited about. 

And while I used to make everything from a box back in the day, I have been making the shift to either altering those box cakes to make them even better or just doing everything from scratch. We don’t buy store bread anymore.

My goal is to eventually make absolutely everything from scratch. It is the better thing to do since you know exactly is inside each dessert you eat. 

It seems like as the days progress there are more and more unpronounceable and artificial ingredients in our food and I want to bring as little of those home as possible. 

Today I am starting with one of the staples found in every dessert – vanilla extract. It can be made with just a couple of simple ingredients as well as a little bit of patience. 

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Yes, you read that right. Patience, because ideally you want the vanilla to “sit” 6-9 months before you actually use it. I mean, you may use it after a couple of months, but the flavor will not be as great as if you waited longer. 

Plus, right now this is the perfect time to start, if you wish to gift these as Christmas presents for your loved ones. This will make an amazing gift with high quality ingredients and it will be much cheaper per ounce than the stuff you buy at the grocery store. 

And the fact that you can personalize the gift is the icing on the cake. I have a free template for your own custom labels! Make sure to scroll to the end to see how you can get access. 

Let’s get started. 

 *Some of the following links are affiliate links. Please see full disclosure for complete details*

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Overview of what you need: 

The first thing you need is a glass container or bottle with a tight spill proof lid. If you have some already great, if not, I highly recommend getting the amber glass ones. Vanilla extract needs to sit in a cool dark place away from the sun and the best thing is to just go for the amber glass. 

Plus it looks pretty 🙂

There are several out there, but I ultimately picked these 16 oz bottles because of their lids. I bake a lot so you may not use that much. Alternately there are 8 ounce options and 4 ounce options as well. However, there is not much difference in price between the 8 oz and 16 oz jars. 

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Next, you want Grade A organic vanilla beans. If you are going to be making this from scratch and possibly gifting it to others, you will want to source the highest quality and safest ingredients. 

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The first thing you want to do is slice the vanilla beans all the way down the long side. This will open the bean casing up and allow the tiny beans to be exposed. 

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Now if your jars are tall enough you can leave them as is. I made sure to cut mine in half because I wanted to be sure that none of the tops would be exposed. They have to be fully submerged into the liquid at all times. 

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Place them in your containers. You want 4-6 bean sticks per 8 ounces for best results. Since my bean sticks were pretty long I used 4 per 8 ounces which resulted in 8 per container since I had the 16 ounce bottles. 

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Next, with the help of a funnel, I like these because they save space in your kitchen, pour your alcohol of choice into the bottle. I prefer vodka because it’s flavorless and you can get a rather inexpensive bottle of vodka without compromising the flavor, unlike other alcohols. 

I also like to use a food scale to measure the amount of vodka goes in each bottle. I like to make sure they are all the same in weight. 

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Finally, all you have to do is put the lid on and shake the bottle every few days or once a week until it’s time to use. Again, for best results these need to cure for 6-9 months before they are ready to use. 

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We ended up making six 16 ounce jars since we do plan on gifting some of these for Christmas. Each one of these jars ended up costing us $10.31. This includes the cost per bottle, vanilla beans used in each bottle and vodka combined. 

This came out to a whopping $.64 per ounce! 

I put my bottle next to the Publix brand 2 ounce bottle to compare the sizes. Right now the Publix brand vanilla extract is $6.63 for only 2 ounces! That’s insane. And there is no telling what kind of grade of vanilla bean they are using. And this isn’t certified as organic. 

The most inexpensive organic vanilla extract I found on Amazon is still $6.65 per ounce. 

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Of course I couldn’t stop there and I had to make my own labels for these. 

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They look so good! They remind me of something you would find in an old apothecary shop. And I am here for it! 

You can also make these pretty labels as I have them ready to be customized in my free printables library. It’s in a simple Word document format. Simply edit the custom parts, adjust the size for your bottle and simply copy and paste the text box until you have as many as you need.

Make sure you print them on sticker paper, then simply cut, peel and stick!

If you have not signed up for access to my library you can do so right here. If you are already signed up, you can sign in here to get instant access. 

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What do you think? Would you give these a try? I cannot wait until I finally get to use these later on this year. 

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Also, did you know that you could reuse the vanilla beans once the vodka is done with? Yep, you can definitely refill the bottle. They may not be as potent so you may not be able to fill it up as much as before, but you can give them another round, saving you even more money. 

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Make sure to save this and share with your friends! I hope you get to try this or use as a special gift this upcoming Christmas season. It’s never too early to get those gifts out of the way. 

I will see you back here really soon! 

Until then…. adios! Yami Signature 300x161 Homemade Vanilla Extract


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