Making homemade Vanilla Extract

How many of us go to the grocery store and pay for Vanilla Extract?  Raise your hands.

Wait, no, never mind, because of course I cannot see you but if I could I would bet most of my readers here would raise their hands.  I know I normally would.  That is until recently when I discovered I could make my own Vanilla extract for use in baking and cooking and save a bit of $$$$ in the process.  This is just so easy that I cannot believe more do not do this.  Really.
Why is it that so many things are actually pretty easy and yet we all believe they are difficult? Well except mayonnaise. I have yet to successfully tackle that one even with scores and scores of eggs down the drain or in the trash.

Okay, now first and foremost.  Please keep in mind. I just started my bottles curing this weekend so I have yet to try out the finished product.  I cannot tell you yet what my thoughts are on the finished product that I have made.  I will be doing that in about two months from now.

Ingredients
 
Vodka.  I have read in numerous sources that this doesn't have to be fancy stuff.  You don't need Absolut, Grey Goose or Smirnoff.  Any brand will do.  As long as it is 80 proof.
Cost for us: 13.99

Vanilla beans.  You need approximately 12 whole vanilla beans to 750 ml of Vodka.
Cost for us: 26.50 for 4 oz
I purchased mine from MountainRoseHerbs.com
Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c



1st Step. Cut the vanilla beans in half. Nothing fancy.

2nd step. Pour vodka into container. Put vanilla beans that have been cut in half into vodka. Close tightly and store in a dark area.  These will have to cure for approximately 6 to 8 weeks.  The longer they cure the stronger the vanilla flavor will be.


In two months time I will be coming back and updating this to provide my own thoughts and feelings on this.  Now if this does turn out good then this will be an amazing cost saving for our household.

Here are the economics. 

 At Amazon.com currently McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract is selling for $12.49 for 16 oz.
Cost per ounce for store bought? $1.28

Homemade vanilla extra has cost us a total of $40.49.  I am not including the cost of the bottles as we already had those on hand.  We might be buying some special bottles for our vanilla later on so I'll include that with my update if we do purchase them.
The vodka we purchased was 13.99 for a half gallon.  That is 128 fluid ounces.
Cost per ounce for homemade? .31

Pretty amazing eh?
I think so.  I just cannot wait to see how this stands up in baking and cooking!



Now a few extra notes.  I am highlighting MountainRoseHerbs.com here simply because they are a sponsor.  I purchase from them because they are a reputable company with good quality products.
As we have moved into 2013 I have told my husband, Edward, time and again that I would really like to get my herbal medicine cabinet stocked again as it is almost completely empty except for a container of old Yarrow and Lavender.  While I do not dispute the effectiveness of most modern medicine, sometimes I just find the natural way is best for my family and I.
There are many companies one can go through for fresh herbs and spices but MountainRoseHerbs.com is just awesome!  First, the amount of fresh herbs, spices and teas is just amazing.  They're website is super easy to follow and browse through and the orders are processed and shipped with lightening speed.  The prices are very reasonable which is something I'm always mindful about now a days.  All in all, this company has been a real pleasure to deal with.
Usual readers know I only swear by something if I really have experience with that item and I can honestly say I fully endorse Mountain Rose Herbs if you are shopping for spices, herbs or teas.

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed
UPDATE

Two months later......................
The vanilla has been sitting peacefully, on the floor, for the past two months.  From time to time, we would pick it up, shake it, open it to smell it, and hubby admitted that he's used it a few times to flavor his coffee.  I would say a month ago he announced it tasted delicious in his coffee so obviously by then it was almost done .  

At this point, the first step was simply to strain the whole vanilla beans out of the now vanilla extract.  
I lined my strainer with a coffee filter simply to keep some of the parts of the vanilla beans out of the extract.  Even with using the coffee filter,  it became apparent I would need to strain the liquid one last time which my son assisted me with.  I really wish I had a "scratch and sniff" capability on these photos as our kitchen smelled lovely during this process.  

This time we strained the liquid with a paper towel which got out the rest of the parts of the vanilla beans and even some of the oil that accumulated at the top of our bottles.  Later on I will be purchasing some nice bottles from Mountain Rose Herbs so I can package these as gifts for the holidays. 

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