How to Make Vanilla Extract

Heather Bullard | Vanilla Extract-102

Who wants to talk about the holidays in January? Yeah…me neither.
But one of the most popular gifts I give is my homemade Madagascar Vanilla Extract and it takes a very long time to cure. In fact, I think it should cure a year or more until the depth of flavor borders on decadence. So here I’ve included everything I use to make mine in hopes that you’ll feel Girl Scout prepared for next season!

Heather Bullard | Vanilla Extract-101

I love these Boston Round Bottles in the 4oz size. Their dark amber colored glass will help the extract keep longer as it prohibits light and hinders deterioration.

Heather Bullard | Vanilla Extract-104

These Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans have a lovely fragrance and I use organic vodka which I buy locally. Sometimes Costco carries it as well. If you’re not concerned with making it organic, any brand of vodka will work. You could also use rum, bourbon or whiskey but I prefer a more neutral tasting alcohol so the vanilla flavor stands out.

Heather Bullard | Vanilla Extract-105

 For every 1.75 liters of vodka I use 16 beans cut into thirds. (Never add them whole to the bottle.) I don’t bother scraping the seeds because it cures so long they eventually release themselves. You can see here just how dark the extract becomes after a long cure. In my experience, I’ve found the 1.75 liter size vodka will fill approximately a dozen Boston Round Bottles.

Organic Madagascar Vanilla Extract
  • 2 - 1.75 liters organic vodka
  • 1 - 4oz package organic madagascar vanilla beans
  1. Pour off a small amount of vodka from bottle in order to accommodate the beans.
  2. Cut beans into thirds. Divide in half and add to each vodka bottle, seal tightly.
  3. Store in dark place. For the first month, shake bottle every week to distribute ingredients. Afterwards, shake on occasion. Cure for 6 months to a year or more before use.
  4. Strain extract and beans through a sieve or coffee filter.
  5. Transfer to smaller individual bottles.

As you can see, it couldn’t be easier! If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.
I promise this will be the last time we talk about the holidays until hmmm, say November?

Heather Bullard | Vanilla Extract-106

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