Cooking With Kids

How to Make Vanilla Extract | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsIt’s that time of year to start thinking about holiday baking! One ingredient that we always use of lot of for holiday baking is vanilla extract. Several years ago, I went to buy some vanilla extract and it cost $15/bottle for non-organic extract! I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it at that price. I figured there had to be a cheaper way to make it myself. So I did some research and learned that it was very easy to make myself. I’ve been making it from scratch ever since. Here’s how to make vanilla extract:
Supplies and Ingredients:

  • A clean amber colored bottle (I buy all my bottles from Specialty Bottle, with whom I have no affiliation, you can use other colored bottles, but amber protects your vanilla from light)
  • 3-4 vanilla beans (you can use lemon rind instead to make lemon extract, mint leaves to make mint extract, etc.)
  • Vodka (other types of alcohol can be used and will yield different results, but I have found that vodka renders the most traditional taste)

How to Make Vanilla Extract | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsDirections

  1. Slice the vanilla beans open lengthwise and place them in your bottle (you may need to cut them into smaller segments to fit them in your bottle)
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with vodka
  3. Allow the bottle to sit in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks (ideally it would be at least 3 months), shaking the bottle up once a week (-ish)
  4. After six weeks, you can use the bottle of extract just like you would any store-bought extract
  5. Remove the beans after six months, if the bottle lasts that long. Some people like to use the soaked beans to make vanilla body scrubs or vanilla sugar with, though I usually dispose of mine.

How to Make Vanilla Extract | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsBTW, the total cost for me to make two 12 ounce bottles of vanilla was $30, but you can find the supplies even cheaper as I used organic vanilla beans and my husband doesn’t buys the cheapest vodka. Plus this is higher quality and I know exactly what’s in it. So why not give this a try, there’s nothing to lose?

If you can’t tell that I’m Irish by my appearance, my maiden name, Maureen Katherine McGill, would most likely clue you in. I’m proud to be Irish and enjoy the overall concept of St. Patrick’s Day, but let’s just say that being Irish does not mean I like “traditional” Irish food. Quite frankly, I find […]

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