I've seen a lot of different recipes for homemade extract, but the two basic ingredients are alcohol and vanilla beans.
Here is how I make mine:
- I start out with 4 vanilla beans (the last ones I used were Trader Joe's Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans) and with a sharp knife, I cut them down the middle almost to the top.
- Next, I place them in a pint-sized mason jar. I would think any type of glass jar would be ok to use as long as it had a lid that fit tightly and was tall enough for the beans.
- The next step is to pour enough vodka into the jar to cover the beans, replace the lid, and tighten it.
- After giving it a swirl, I put the jar into the cabinet and let it sit for at least 4-6 weeks before using it.
Every so often, I'll top it off with more vodka. This lasted for me for about a year before I needed to replace my vanilla beans.
As far as the vodka goes, we don't drink so I'm not particular to any one brand. I use whatever my husband picks up for me and it all seems to work the same!
I'm still experimenting with vanilla beans, but so far I like the Madagascar beans. They are expensive, but the more you buy, the cheaper the "per bean" price is and in the long run, it's much cheaper than buying the extract at the store.
Here is a photo of my vanilla after 3 weeks. It's getting a nice amber color to it and smells more like vanilla than vodka now!
I'm thinking of trying to make peppermint extract for the holidays. What about you? Have you made your own extracts? Do you have any tips to share? I'd love to hear them!