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Homemade Vanilla Extract Update

October 25, 2009

Hi there. Remember waaaaaay back in May, when I posted about the DIY vanilla extract project I was embarking on? And then never mentioned it again? Oops.

Well, better late than never, I’m here to tell you that it is unequivocally fabulous. I’ve been using it for months. That photo above was taken back in July, and I still have the beans in the extract — it’s even darker now, with a heady vanilla aroma that envelopes me as soon as I open the jar.

I had meant to post this update earlier, but you know what? It’s never too late. If you’re thinking of making this for Christmas gifts (I know I’ll be giving some away!) you could start it in the next few weeks and still give it for Christmas — I found the extract was excellent for baking after about 3 months, and only gets better with a little more time. Just tell your gift recipients to let it “age” a little while. 🙂

19 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2009 4:25 pm

    This is completely amazing. And thanks for the heads up about the bulk vanilla beans. My boyfriend’s sister & mom will love that!

  2. October 25, 2009 4:39 pm

    I started some after you and it is looking good. I still have some of my store bought bottle left but once it runs out, I am busting into the homemade.

  3. October 25, 2009 5:27 pm

    Your homemade extract looks so good! I bet it adds extra sparkle to every dish used in 😀

  4. October 25, 2009 9:55 pm

    I have actually been contemplating making some homemade extract… Yours looks fabulous! I think that would make wonderful Christmas gifts!

  5. October 25, 2009 10:06 pm

    That’s so fun. Glad to hear it worked out.

  6. October 26, 2009 2:24 am

    I didn’t have enough leftover beans to make extract, so mine is looking quite insipid, sigh 😦 Yours looks fabulous.

  7. October 26, 2009 10:47 am

    Oooh, I have question, actually. So, does the vodka taste not transfer at all?

    • October 26, 2009 11:01 am

      I actually haven’t really tasted it straight from the jar, being pregnant and all 🙂 — but since I don’t really view vodka as having a strong/distinctive taste on its own, I think it’s safe to assume the overwhelming flavor is the vanilla.

  8. October 26, 2009 3:23 pm

    I started three jars of homemade vanilla extract at the start of October and was wondering when it was acceptable to start baking with it. Thanks for giving the update! I’ll happily wait until December to start baking with it.

  9. massybird permalink
    October 26, 2009 5:39 pm

    Amy, thanks for inspiring me to try this! We just recently made some blueberry, nettles and mint tinctures, so now I’ll give vanilla extract a try as I use it a lot, especially when making cheesecakes! Love your blog and getting great ideas to try out in my kitchen with Missy.


  10. October 27, 2009 6:47 am

    What a great idea for the holidays! Anyone have ideas for containers that would ship well? I have mason jars, but was think they might leak if not heat sealed…

    • October 27, 2009 6:52 am

      Diana – you could always divide the extract among pretty, smaller screwcap glass bottles, wrap well in bubblewrap, and ship that way. But, I didn’t heat seal my Mason jars and I’ve been shaking my vanilla up, down, and all around. As long as the lid and screw ring is on tight, doesn’t seem to leak. If I were going to ship them, I’d just (again) wrap very well in bubble wrap!

  11. Bekah permalink
    November 4, 2009 8:50 pm

    I find that it has an alcoholy taste if tasted straight, but it doesn’t transfer to your baked goods. Cookie dough can have a bit of the alcoholy flavor if you hit just the right spot. : )

    • Jessie permalink
      November 5, 2009 5:04 pm

      Does yours SMELL like vanilla? I started some over 1 month ago & it is very dark, but I think it smells like alchohol more than vanilla. When I shake it, it smells like vanilla, but when I open the mason jar it doesn’t. Any advice?


  12. Renee permalink
    November 8, 2009 6:29 pm

    Now I know what I am making for Christmas gifts! I used your suggestion and bought vanilla beans on the ebay store. Can’t wait to get started!

  13. November 11, 2009 9:54 pm

    i have a batch that has been stewing for a couple weeks now… i can’t wait to use it!!

  14. christine sandmann permalink
    October 13, 2011 2:57 pm

    I have ordered my vanilla beans today and cant wait to try to make some fresh vanilla myself.

  15. Dave permalink
    December 20, 2011 5:32 pm

    My sister has been doing this for years. When I saw her vanilla, I informed her I buy mine at BJ’s very cheap. She informed me hers was from Vodka, but Rum would be Ok too. Hers has been redone several times. She adds more Vodka when her bottle is half empty, and continues using the same vanilla bean.


  1. Make Your Own Vanilla Extract: Day 1 « eggs on sunday

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