Let’s talk vanilla.
Yum, right? How can a house be without it?
You’re right; it’s can’t. 🙂 We have always just purchased vanilla extract from the grocery store, no harm, no foul. However, that changed when we started the GAPS diet.
The vanilla we were buying at Costco had sugar in it, so it wasn’t GAPS legal – and honestly, I wanted the cleanest vanilla I could find. Since I love making homemade things, and Costco was carrying vanilla beans at the time, we went ahead and bought some. (Our friends Tawny and Chip were masters at making their own vanilla, and they inspired us! Thanks, guys!)
We did some research on home vanilla brewing 😉 and you know what? There are several different variations for how to make vanilla extract. What I am going to share with you is what I feel is the simplest method. I mean, you’re busy, right? So am I. 🙂
Let’s save time in the kitchen, and emerge with a flavorful homemade vanilla that couldn’t be simpler.
- 8 vanilla beans per liter of homemade vanilla – you can find vanilla beans in bulk here
- 1 liter vodka OR bourbon – Vodka will make the cleanest vanilla, and it will taste great! Bourbon will make a richer, more flavorful vanilla and is great for chocolates and the like. It’s completely your choice! 🙂
- glass, airtight bottle (I found the one in my picture at Ross for less than $3! Isn’t it adorable? You can find them online here.) You can also just use the liquor bottle – be sure to pour a little bit off to make room for the beans/pods.
- sharp knife
- I find the simplest way to start out is to actually cut the beans into about 1-inch pieces. (It’s actually not necessary to take the time to slice open the bean and scrape out the seeds! But if you’d like to do it that way, go right ahead. Your vanilla will still taste amazing!)
- Drop your vanilla beans/pods into your bottle and fill up the bottle with vodka, and cover with the lid.
- Keep your vanilla extract in a dark place for 6 weeks. (We used our pantry.) For the first week, shake the bottle for a few seconds, every day. Then, shake once a week until the six weeks are up.
- If you want, when your extract is finished, you can strain the beans out with a strainer, using the funnel to pour it into your bottle of choice. (See notes for another option.)
That was easy, wasn’t it, friends? Order some beans, and get this started now, so it will be ready in time for your Thanksgiving and Christmas baking!
Pssst. Want to know a money-saving secret? Of course you do! Vanilla beans will last for a long, long time. You can actually keep the beans in the alcohol, and when you’ve almost exhausted your vanilla, just refill with more alcohol and let sit again. You can do this over and over, and get homemade vanilla each time. Awesome, right?!
Happy baking and candy making,
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