homemade pure vanilla extract

There's just something special about pure vanilla extract.  The sweet, floral aroma...  the cozy richness...  the depth...

The draw we all have to add it to just about everything we bake...

The thing is...  there really is a difference between good vanilla and mediocre vanilla.

If, like me, you have ever been to Mexico before... you have likely picked up a big bottle or two of very cheap vanilla extract.  Or you have bought some tiny bottles at your grocery store for a ridiculously high price!

But do we really have any idea what's in those vanilla extracts we buy?  And isn't it always just more fun to know exactly where something is coming from and saving a bunch of money while you're at it??

This homemade vanilla extract is so incredibly simple!  You put a few vanilla beans in a bottle and cover them with vodka.  Let it sit for 2-3 months or more and you've got amazing homemade vanilla extract!

And the best part??  When you make vanilla extract this way, as the bottle gets low (say 1/3 of it is used up!), you just top it off with fresh vodka and there you go!  Genius!!

Are you wondering why I have a need for 24 bottles of vanilla extract?  Well, besides my love for it... I am working on Christmas gifts!  (So please...  if you are a family member who usually gets a gift from us, please forget that you ever saw this post!)  :o)

Also, I am running low on vanilla extract myself...  which turned out to be great motivation to get started on my Christmas gifts early this year!

(I also made a few bottles of rum-soaked vanilla for myself...  thinking that will make some yummy whipped cream flavoring this winter, not to mention the Gluten Free factor!)

Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract Recipe
adapted from Bethany Actually

good-quality vanilla beans
vodka, rum or bourbon

Cut the vanilla beans in half crosswise and then slice them in half again lengthwise.  Place several pieces (I use 6 pieces - or 1 1/2 whole beans worth - in my 4oz bottles) in a glass bottle or jar.  Fill completely to cover the beans with vodka.

Cover tightly and place in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months or longer for best flavor!

I left the quantities out of this recipe on purpose.  It's not an exact science!  I bought a 1/2 pound of really amazing madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and two big bottles of semi-cheap vodka and that made 24-4oz bottles of vanilla with about 1/4 pound of vanilla beans leftover (don't worry I have lots of plans for those beans!).

I got my vanilla beans here...  my cute little glass bottles here...  and my vodka at the local liquor store!

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