Whole vanilla beans and booze are all you’ll need to make your own vanilla extract.
Here’s how our vanilla cycle goes: Plan to make my own vanilla, but forget. Then my husband (the baker in the family) sees that we’re low. He picks up a big bottle at Costco, perpetuating a vicious vanilla cycle. Every bottle we get from the store? That’s one more piece of plastic that we have to figure out what to do with.
Making my own in a reusable glass bottle makes sense from a waste perspective. But here in Hawaii, it makes sense from a locavore perspective, too. Several small farms grow vanilla right here on the island. How ridiculous to buy imported vanilla in plastic! Even if you don’t have access to locally grown vanilla, it makes sense to make it yourself simply because it eliminates waste and a single batch of homemade vanilla can last indefinitely, since you can keep topping off the jar as you use the vanilla.
Inspired to try? Here’s how you do it. It’s not really a recipe so much as it is just putting a couple of ingredients in a jar. Then waiting, of course. Once it’s ready, you’ll be off and baking.
How to make your own vanilla
- Split two whole vanilla beans down the center with a knife or scissors.
- Slip the beans into a recycled glass jar or a canning jar. Use a jar that holds roughly 2 cups of liquid.
- Fill the jar with vodka and allow it to sit for three to four weeks.
- Leave the vanilla bean in the jar and when your supply starts to get low, add more vodka. (Eventually, you may need to start fresh when the vanilla beans start to lose their oomph.)
Use your homemade vanilla just as you would the store-bought version.