Friday, April 12, 2013

DIY kitchen series: homemade vanilla extract

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Making homemade vanilla extract has been on my to do list for ages. I love the idea of homemade extracts, salts, mustard's, drink mixes. My problem isn't bookmarking an idea, it  is finding the motivation to actually start the project - I have had all the necessary supplies to make vanilla extract for month's; minus the vodka...but it sat, and sat and then sat some more- that's when the idea of a DIY kitchen series came to mind. Sharing these ideas and projects with you would give me the motivation to complete some pretty neat kitchen DIY's. I hope you enjoy this series - let me know if there is a DIY you would like to see a post on!

Welcome to the very first post in the series: Homemade Vanilla Extract- and it couldn't be simpler.



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Making homemade vanilla extract requires a few easy to find supplies - organic vodka, whole vanilla beans and a container(s). I purchased Boston Round Bottles from Amazon, they are the perfect bottles for vanilla extract - but even a mason jar would work or any other container with a tight fitting lid.

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 Three vanilla beans are split lengthwise, exposing the seeds inside. The split beans are cut in half and placed inside the sanitized bottles (3 beans per 1 cup vodka) then topped off with vodka. I was able to find an American made organic vodka, but any good high proof vodka will suffice (I also really like Vodka 360!). For the Vanilla Beans I used Madagascar & Tahitian Varieties - try out different kinds to suite your own taste.

After you have filled each bottle with the beans and vodka, simply twist the cover tight and give it a good shake. The bottles should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place and shaken every couple of weeks. The Vanilla needs to "age" for a minimum of 2 months - for a more pronounced vanilla extract age longer.

For the finishing touch I printed round craft labels for the front of each bottle - there you have it, easy homemade vanilla extract. 

If you make a batch today you can cross off one homemade Holiday or Hostess gift off your list.

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 Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract
makes 12 bottles

you will need:
(12) 4oz bottles or appropriate containers for extract 
(my bottles held closer to 3/4 cup vodka versus 1 full cup) 
(2) 750ml bottles of organic vodka or your favorite high proof vodka of choice (about 10-11 cups or so)
36 vanilla beans (I used Tahitian & Madagascar)
funnel
labels
dark storage box for vanilla to age

assembly:
Sanitize the containers in the dishwasher, hot soapy water or with a sanitizing solution.

For each cup or so of vodka you will need 3 full vanilla beans, split down the center to expose the seeds. If using bottles similar to the ones I used you will need to cut the 3 vanilla beans in half creating 6 pieces (this is so they will fit in the bottle).

Place the vanilla beans in the bottle, using a funnel pour vodka into the bottle ensuring the vanilla beans are covered - leave a bit of head space that will allow you some room to shake up the bottles.

Cap tightly and shake well- place in your storage box. Repeat process until all bottles are filled. 

Create pretty labels and stick to bottles!

Drink any leftover vodka.

Once the extract has aged a minimum of 2 months you can strain the vanilla which removes the vanilla beans and seeds or they can remain in the extract for a more rustic extract.

Enjoy!

Yum

44 comments:

  1. Great post, Heather - you beat me too it! I've made vanilla extract once before, and it's been on me list for an FAK post for ages now. The Fiance and I love Tahitian vanilla (it's his favorite) and I really like bourbon and Mexican as well. There's a site called Beanilla that sells a variety pack of different types of beans (I believe three of each type) which is great for sampling to see what you like! :)

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    1. I need to check out that site- thank you for the info! I am absolutely in love with your FAK Fridays!

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  2. making homemade vanilla extract has been on my to make list as well! now that you did it, i just HAVE to do it ;)

    btw- i read your about section and was blown away! i loved reading it and am so glad you were able to heal the natural way and by listening to your body. xo.

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  3. These would make excellent holiday gifts for coworkers and neighbors! Consider it pinned :)

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  4. Wowy dear these look stunning!
    I'm so inspired by you - I've been thinking about making this for a long time... but now I wish I could just buy your pretty bottles ;)
    <3 Ella

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    1. So easy Ella, your little one could totally help you with this project :)

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  5. Awesome idea, and I can't believe it's so easy. :)

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  6. This is really a pretty idea, but you're doing it the hard way. First, make some cosmos with a cup or so of the vodka. Then slice & chop your vanilla beans into little pieces (more surface area = more vanilla flavor can escape into the vodka), put all the little pieces into the bottle of vodka, cap & shake. If your bottle of vodka is clear, I'd wrap it in aluminum foil so the light doesn't get to the brew. Then keep shaking it every day until you forget, then shake it once a week for 3 months. After that, use a funnel & strain it into your pretty bottles. It's much easier than fussing with a bunch of small bottles!

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    1. Brilliant Sarah! It looks like I will be getting an arm workout shaking all my pretty bottles, I probably should make a cocktail to keep me entertained during my weekly shake sessions :)

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  7. I love this! Great thing you have started here. Looking fwd to see what's next.

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    1. The DIY Kitchen Series has been so much fun, I am so happy to hear you are looking forward to the series!

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  8. Fabulous!!!! I am SO impressed! :D

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  9. This is great! I use vanilla extract quite often and it will be grat to have a homemade one.

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  10. I made my own vanilla extract and honestly, you just never go back to paying the crazy amounts for extracts made from rather inferior ingredients. Some even have sugar in them!!

    Thanks for your lovely post and pictures!

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    1. You said it girl, so right! Why spend loads of $$ when it is so easy to make at home, I feel so silly after all these years buying extract!

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  11. If your friends are like mine, they'll use the vanilla vodka in beverages, and it won't get anywhere near a cupcake! A couple of years ago, I made vanilla extract, but my apparent boozy friends experimented with liquid treats... It makes amazing espresso martinis and is lovely mixed with all sorts of soft drinks to make a tasty summer cooler :)

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    1. Ooooo LOVE LOVE the idea of adding it to a few cocktails!

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  12. Such a fantastic idea - I'm always looking for new projects to start. If I start now, it'll be ready just in time for summer :)

    PS - A huge congratulations on being a finalist for the best food blog award! You so deserve it. Best of luck!

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  13. i love the bottles and the labels! Vanilla extract is definitely one of those things i think i should make and then postpone it:)

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    1. Aren't the labels the BEST! I love the craft paper look to them :)

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  14. I am in LOVE with the idea of this series girl! I too am constantly pinning ideas for homemade extracts, mustard and condiments but never seem to get around to it! You will be my inspiration to start!!! Can't wait to join you :)

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    1. Thank you Gabby! I need to get my butt in gear and get on that homemade mustard :)

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  15. I'm in the process of doing this too, glad to see a tutorial!

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  16. I've been meaning to do this for awhile now. I guess I need to get on it if I want them ready for Christmas! Great tutorial!

    P.S. Congrats on being a Saveur Finalist! That's HUGE!!!

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  17. Oh my lord. I didn't get this one in feedly either. Maybe I need to switch. Darn google reader for leaving me! My mom has wanted to make this type of recipe with me for ages! I love how you've made it so cute and giftable! I'll bet it tastes divine! xx

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    1. The aged Vanilla is amazing- just pulled out a few bottles to use in my Fall baking!

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  18. How long does this keep once it's done? And will it give an "alcohol taste" to for example yoghurt, if stirred in? :)

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    1. Hi Elin! The vanilla will keep indefinitely, I have never stirred pure vanilla extract directly into yogurt so can't comment on that, however I do add some to my smoothies and never have detected a strong alcohol taste just the taste of pure vanilla!

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  19. I tried this and it didn't work. I basically have vanilla-flavoured vodka now. I don't know where I went wrong...any tips?

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    1. Vanilla extract is essentially vanilla flavored Vodka- how long did you allow the extract to age? Perhaps allowing the extract to age a bit longer- were the vanilla beans used "fresh/new" versus older/dried?

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  20. i've done this for years, however, i've been asked, "how do you know you have the right percentage of vanilla vs. the base?" my answer was "IDK, it tastes like store-bought vanilla".

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  21. I found cute little bottes from Italy the other day and thought hmmm....homemade vanilla extract! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

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  22. Hey, I love this idea:) And I was wondering wether it would work with rum as well... because I only have rum lying around the house and I prefer it to Vodka. thanks for the great idea :)

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    1. Hi Rafaela! I have heard of people using rum before but I, myself have never tried this. As l long as it is higher proof rum it should be fine, the extract will definitely have a different flavor as rum is not typically as neutral as vodka.Good Luck!

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