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Homemade Vanilla Extract

December 25, 2012


  • Vanilla Beans of your favorite variety
  • Vodka


  1. Use a knife to split the bean in half  leaving about ½ inch at each end intact.
  2. Put your vanilla beans in a glass bottle or jar with a top  and fully immerse in the alcohol.
  3. Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 8 weeks.

Give the bottle a shake every week or so.  As you use the vanilla, simply add in more liquor to replace what you have used.   The rule of thumb is 5 beans per 1 cup of alcohol.  If you use cheaper vodka, you can improve its quality by first filtering it several times through a Brita-type drinking water filter to remove any impurities.   Bourbon, Rum, or Brandy can also be used but these impart extra flavors which you may or may not want.

Try adding a vanilla bean to a jar of sugar for a uniquely flavored sweetener.  Whole vanilla beans that have been used in sauces or other liquids can be rinsed, thoroughly dried, and stored for reuse.  For a change of pace, add vanilla seeds to cottage cheese or flavored/plain yogurt and let stand overnight for an added boost of flavor. 

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