Extracts are probably one of the greatest inventions, in my opinion. They are the perfect addition to a baked treat without messing with the texture or composition!
You can purchase so many different types of extracts at the store or online, the possibilities are endless.
If you enjoy baking, you probably go through quit a bit of vanilla. When I’m making cookies for people, I can go through a bottle in just a week or two! It can get pricey when you use that much. Pure vanilla extract can be $3 to $4 at the least. And that is just for a tiny 2 oz bottle!
I decided to start making my own so I can always have a jar on hand, plus the quality of homemade is even better!
Today I wanted to share with you an easy make your own vanilla extract plus a free printable you can use on your jars! These make the cutest little gifts!
You can really use any kind of vodka that you want, but make sure it has decent quality. If it is weak, the extract won’t be as strong as it should.
Click below for your free printable!
As far as the vanilla bean quality, I tried to use a decent brand. Vanilla beans can get incredibly expensive depending on where they are harvested from. Did you know that vanilla beans come from a type of Orchid? It also only grows close to the equator, so there really aren’t that many locations a vanilla bean comes from. Typically, the ones you find in the store are from Madagascar or Mexico. Tahiti vanilla beans are also popular. I am not always able to find good vanilla beans in the store, so I like to buy them online.
So, will cheap vanilla beans work? The answer is yes. I have made this with cheaper vanilla beans from Mexico, and there won’t be too much of a difference when it is baked. If you are using vanilla for coffee flavoring or something that isn’t baked, definitely go with a higher grade!
Using a clear jar is fine for this extract, but always store it in a cool, darker place. I keep mine in the cabinet or pantry. Light can eventually effect the potency of the extract, so it will last longer if stored properly.
How long will this last? A very long time. Once the vanilla beans are strained out, it is essentially just alcohol which keeps forever.
Some have asked, what if you don’t use, or can’t have alcohol? All pure extracts are made with alcohol, and the amount used in baking is very small. You won’t have any alcohol in what you eat. Even using a small amount for coffee or icing, it is an insignificant amount. The only alternative to an extract made with alcohol is imitation vanilla. I have a post on that soon! 🙂
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