This is super easy! I promise. Once you do it for the first time you will kick yourself for not having tried it sooner. I sure did!
There are two ways you can do this. Honestly I don’t think it makes a difference in the finished product. I waffle between the two. Totally depends on my mood and if I feel like savoring the smell of vanilla. 🙂
Version 1) Cut the vanilla beans down the middle, the long way, to revealthe caviar. I semi scrape it out for fun. Dump the beans and caviar into a glass jar. Pour the vodka on top making sure the beans are fully submerged. Cover tightly.
Version 2) Snip the vanilla beans in half. Place them in a glass jar. Cover them with the vodka making sure they are fully submerged. Cap tightly.
And then you wait.
For a long time.
If you remember, it really is best to shake it occasionally to agitate it and really infuse the vodka. But I generally forget.
Make sure you make this waaaaay before baking season.
The time varies depending on who you talk to. Anywhere from 2-6 months. I personally leave mine for about 2 months. Haha usually because I run out and need it ASAP. I’ve always been happy with how nice and vanilla-y it turns out, but if you have the time you can leave it longer.
The very first batch I made didn’t have as many beans in it because I was being frugal. Well scratch that plan! You couldn’t even taste the vanilla. I decided I wanted a nice rich vanilla extract from then on.
Finally, after the 2-6 months, depending on how patient you want to be, strain off the beans.
I do that by simply pouring the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, but cheesecloth or a clean old t-shirt works well, too. Sometimes some of the caviar sneaks through which I’m okay with. If you don’t like little floaties then use the t-shirt. 🙂
Then you pour it into whatever lovely bottle you have and voila! Delicious vanilla extract.
- If you want to stretch your vanilla beans as far as possible, then instead of straining out the beans, leave them in the jar. Use the vanilla straight from there. As you use it up, keep adding a little more vodka. Eventually the beans will run out of flavor and you will have to discard them but it certainly works for awhile!
I have ordered my vanilla beans from Amazon and also directly from olivenation.com. Both have been lovely and the prices are great.
Depending on how expensive alcohol is by you, this should be cheaper than buying pure vanilla extract. Plus it’s just so much fun. And then if you’re lucky, you’ll have some leftover vanilla beans to make something super delicious and totally bad for you. 🙂