Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Find an empty little bottle and clean it thoroughly. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need ¾ cup (6 ounces/180 ml) alcohol for every 4 vanilla beans. You can use any strong alcohol, but choose a mildly flavored one such as vodka or white rum so it won’t obscure the flavor of the vanilla. Use the tip of a small knife to split each bean lengthwise, then drop them into the bottle and pour in enough alcohol to cover. Seal tightly and store out of direct sunlight for about 2 months. During that time, whenever you think of it, shake the bottle gently. You can start using the extract after only 3 or 4 weeks if you’d like a delicate vanilla aroma. The longer the extract sits, the more robustly flavored it will become. It essentially never spoils; I once discovered a many-years-old bottle of vanilla extract that I had made and stashed at the back of my parents’ kitchen cupboard, and it was more aromatic than any I’ve ever smelled.