by Sandy Shields

HomeMade Vanilla Extract tastes much better than store-bought, and it is very easy to make at home.

I have heard that the imitation vanilla that is sold in our supermarkets is nothing more than a by-product from petroleum companies. Instead of being disposed of, it is sold to the food industry for consumption. I do not know if this is true, but it just gives me one more reason to make my own.

Making real vanilla is fun and easy. The only ingredients needed are vanilla beans and alcohol. I have several recipes for making vanilla, and each one calls for a different type of alcohol, and varying amounts of vanilla bean.

For a strong extract, use a high proof of alcohol and scrape the seeds from the bean. For a weaker extract, use a lesser proof of alcohol and soak beans intact.

Here are a three different methods for making your extract:

1. Place one vanilla bean into a pint of vodka. Shake daily for two weeks.
*Strain if desired, and bottle for storage.

2. Scrape the seeds from three vanilla beans and place them into a bottle of dark rum. Place the pods in the rum as well. Let sit for three weeks, shaking occasionally.
*Strain if desired, and bottle for storage.

3. Place 1/2 cup vodka or white tequila into small saucepan, and heat until it smokes but isn’t boiling. Break 2 vanilla beans into pieces and place into bottle or jar. Pour the alcohol into the bottle and cover tightly. Let sit for a week, shaking frequently.
*Strain if desired, and bottle for storage.

*Use a very fine strainer, coffee filter, or paper towel to strain.

HINT: To save money, you can grow your own vanilla orchids and collect the seed pods, or reuse the vanilla bean(s) for another batch of extract.

Sandy is a freelance writer and webmaster of She enjoys living the frugal life, saving money, and helping others to do the same. Reprint permission granted with this footer included. Copyright © 1999-2005.

Leave a Reply