Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Since becoming so interested in baking and cake decorating I have met many wonderful people, mainly through the internet. Many of these people I have not met IRL, but one that I have is Gail (Claytons Blog). We met about 2 years ago on the Taste forum through a discussion about the Wilton Giant Cupcake pan, and our friendship went from there. 

Gail has introduced me to many things baking and cooking related, one of which is fresh vanilla pods. This may sound strange, but I had only ever used vanilla extract purchased from the supermarket and only ever seen those shrivelled up stick looking things on the supermarket shelf that are labeled vanilla pods. Not very appealing and very expensive! Anyway, Gail purchases bulk vanilla beans and sent me some a while back. Wow, they are such a wonderful thing, the smell is divine. I first used them to flavour custard and glace icing. 

Another topic on the Taste forum was homemade vanilla extract. Such an easy thing to do and so much better than anything you purchase at the supermarket.

All you need is a bottle of vodka and fresh vanilla pods.I used a 750ml bottle of vodka (brand doesn't matter) and about 8 - 10 pods. Split the pods and drop into the vodka. 

(This is my first bottle at about 1 1/2 months old.)

Place it in a dark place, the top shelf of the pantry is a good place, and leave for at least 3 months to mature. The bottle needs a shake every now and then. It turns a lovely dark brown colour and the smell is amazing. I use it all the time in my baking now and would never go back to store bought vanilla again. I have a couple of bottles on the go now and the bottles can be topped up several times.

I have bottled it up in smaller bottles and given it as gifts as well.

 If you can get hold of some juicy, plump vanilla beans give this a go, it is definately worth it!

Mrs KT :) 


  1. Aww - and I am so glad we met! Vanilla made yourself is really the best by far and if you add another 10 split pods it will go nice and thick quicker.

    You know if you were impatient!

  2. I don't know who would be too impatient to wait 3 months for the brew to be ready, LOL:)

  3. Great tip. Thanks for sharing and a great idea for gifts.

  4. What a fantastic tip! I'm never happy with the quality from the supermarket..and it's such an important ingredient..Rachaelxx

  5. I always wanted to try my own vanilla extract.
    I really love vanilla sugar too.
    I'm sure your vanilla extract is absolutely wonderful.