We’ve both been using home made vanilla extract for a number of years in our baking, so we knew how easy it was to make. We also knew that it needed to be put together several months before it was going to be used. The whole process started 3-months ago to provide plenty of time for aging!
Only two ingredients are needed for home made vanilla extract: Whole vanilla beans and vodka! It’s important that the vodka used is not flavored at all. Also, there’s no point in using expensive vodka.
The first step involved cutting or slitting the vanilla beans down the middle with a sharp knife. The reason for this is to expose the actual seeds that provide both the color and the flavor to the vanilla extract.
Initially the beans were left whole. However, Susan rightly decided after the fact that the beans should be cut in half. The reason for this is that the beans would likely slip out when the vanilla was poured. The bottles were capped, and the vanilla was stored in a dark place.
After three months of aging, the vanilla extract was ready to be packaged with the other goodies that Susan made. Yum!
Whole vanilla beans (5 to 6 per 8-ounces of vodka)
Wash and sterilize the bottles that will be used.
With a sharp knife cut the vanilla beans down the middle. Then cut the beans in half. Place the beans in the clean bottle. Pour in vodka. Seal the bottle, and store in a dark, cool place. Let the vanilla extract age for 2 to 3 months before using, occasionally shaking the bottle.
Note: When the vanilla extract gets low, add more vodka to the bottle.