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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Posted By Suzanne McMinn On February 9, 2008 @ 5:02 am In Extras,The Farmhouse Table | 38 Comments

Make homemade vanilla extract! Yes, you can! And it’s so easy and fun! You will feel so handy and survivalist afterward! It makes me feel like a pioneer!!!! And it’s fun, did I mention that part? It’s stronger, it’s cheaper, and you can avoid preservatives and artificial flavorings. It also puts you completely in control of your vanilla extract supply and you can make all the cookies you want.

To prepare, start saving your vanilla bottles now. Don’t throw your vanilla bottles away! Save them. Ask your friends, neighbors, and family to save their vanilla bottles and give them to you. Collect vanilla bottles. Dark, glass vanilla bottles are best. You want all the bottles you can get people to give you because homemade vanilla extract makes great gifts. Using hot water, dish soap, and a scrubber pad, scrub off the labels and wash the bottle. Next, order vanilla beans in bulk for the best price. Here is a great place to order Madagascar vanilla beans, which are the premium beans for making vanilla extract.

How to make Homemade Vanilla Extract:

For each 2-ounce jar of vanilla extract–

1 2-ounce vanilla jar
slightly less than 1/4 cup vodka
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 vanilla bean

With kitchen scissors, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch connected (not cut) at one end. (Does that vanilla bean look like a worm or what?) Combine the vodka and rum. Using either a funnel or a measuring cup with a pouring spout, add alcohol to the washed and dried vanilla jar.

Push cut vanilla bean down into jar. Close lid tightly. That is it, people!!! Could anything be simpler? Add twine, raffia or ribbon, and stick on a pretty hand-lettered or printed label if you choose (and particularly if you are planning to give your jars as gifts). Store the jars for two months in a cool, dry place (like your kitchen cabinets, away from your oven). Occasionally, reach in and shake the jar a bit. The extract will be ready in two months, and will remain good for years. (If 2 ounces of vanilla extract lasts years, you aren’t making enough cookies!) In the meantime, keep collecting vanilla bottles from your friends, neighbors, and family, and make more–for yourself, and for gifts. Re-use the jars you keep–always have one jar ready to use while another jar is maturing. Never run out of vanilla again!


1. The recipe can be easily adjusted according to the size of bottles you have available.
2. Shake before each use. Don’t worry about the little bean specks in the liquid. That is good stuff! You know how when you see real vanilla bean ice cream and there are dark specks in it? That’s the real vanilla bean in the extract used to make the ice cream. You want those specks!

(Need something else to do with your rum? Try Drunken Rum Cookie Logs!)

**Also see Homemade Vanilla: The Big Bottle Method.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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