Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vanilla Extract

There is some controversy as to whether distilled liquors are completely gluten free. We're dealing with gluten intolerance, not full blown celiac disease or an actual allergy to gluten so I'm going to give this a try. It's something I've thought about for a while but it required a trip to the liquor store, a place not on my typical errand route.
I'm not taking up drinking hard liquor, I'm making my own vanilla extract!

It couldn't be simplier. You need only two ingredients: a high proof alcohol like bourbon or vodka and some fresh vanilla beans. You can find beans online or at your local health food store. I bought 5 Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans for $2.99 each at the health food store but next time I'll plan ahead and search for a better deal online.

Using a sharp knife, slit the beans each down the middle leaving about an inch on the top uncut. You'll need 3 beans for each cup of alcohol. (This bottle has about 1.5 cups so I used 5 beans.)

At this point some people put the liquor and beans in a fancy sterilized jar. I just put the beans in the bottle of bourbon to hang out for the next 3 months. That's how long it takes to "brew" the vanilla extract.

Store the bottle in a cool, dark place and give it a shake several times a month. By the time it's ready, I hope to have found some adorable jars to put it in for gift giving or my own baking.

Vanilla Beans... $14.95

Bourbon.... $9.99

Homemade, high quality vanilla extract for many, many months of baking....priceless.


  1. I love homemade vanilla. I just blogged about how my dh bartered for 35 POUNDS of vanilla beans! So next time you need them, just let me know; I'd be more than happy to send you some beans!

  2. 35 POUNDS of vanilla beans?! What did he barter? YOUR HOUSE?!!

    Hmmm, what can I barter with Denise for some vanilla beans? :-)

  3. Yep, 35 pounds...for fixing two computers. It was actually a great deal for both parties involved because they hadn't paid for the beans. When their company moved into a new building, which was previously owned by a vanilla bean company, they found case after case of vanilla beans left behind. I can't even imagine how many thousands of dollars of beans were there!

    I figured you could charge rent for your book that I'm taking forever to read, and I can pay in vanilla beans! :)



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