I bake a lot, and it seems like every recipe for baked goods includes vanilla extract. I wince every time I buy vanilla extract because it’s so expensive. At my Stop and Shop, it costs $9.99 for 4 ounces of their store brand extract, or $2.50 per ounce. I’ve wanted to make homemade vanilla extract for a while now, and I finally got around to ordering vanilla beans. Some extract recipes call for using lots of vanilla beans, but I thought I would try using just one and see how it came out. After making my first batch with one bean, I decided to go with 2 beans in future batches. I felt funny going into a liquor store and buying vodka, but I did it. I’m so happy that I finally got around to doing this, because it’s such an easy, cost-effective way to get vanilla extract.
- 2 vanilla beans
- 8 ounces cheap vodka
- Slice the beans open lengthwise and scrape out half the paste. Use the paste for another recipe. I made vanilla ice cream, and it tasted incredible!
- Place the spent vanilla beans (with half the paste still in the beans) in a clean jar and cover with the vodka.
- Put the jar in a cabinet and forget about it for a month.
- After a month, open the jar and see if it smells like vanilla or vodka. If it still smells like vodka, put it away for a few more weeks and try again. When you get that nice vanilla extract aroma, you can start using it. (Mine started smelling like vanilla after 3 weeks.)
- Top off periodically with more vodka. This should last for many months. When it stops smelling like vanilla, replace the beans or add another one.
Homemade Vanilla Extract Price Breakdown
I bought the cheapest vodka I could find: one liter for $7.99. With this vodka, the price of my homemade vanilla extract is $3.92 for 8 ounces, or $.49 per ounce. The store brand vanilla extract at Stop and Shop is $2.50 per ounce, which is five times more expensive than the homemade version. The amazing thing is that you use the half-spent vanilla bean for this extract, so you can use some of the paste for another recipe.
Note: If you want to buy vanilla beans in bulk, Amazon has lots of options. Also, Beanilla has wonderful vanilla beans for just $1 each if you buy 25, shipping included. I bought the flip-top bottles at the Container Store for my homemade vanilla extract.
Linking to Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Frugal “I Did It” Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Frugal Fridays, Wellness Weekend, Gluten Free Friday, Show and Tell Saturday, Healthy Vegan Friday.
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