Updated: Jun 20, 2020
If you have ever tried imitation vanilla essence (the cheap stuff you buy in the shops) you will know that it tastes terrible, and is simply junk with flavours, colours and additives. If you have ever spent $10 on a small bottle of vanilla extract you will know that it tastes delicious but hurts your hip pocket. The even more expensive commercial vanilla bean paste is also delectable and more indulgent.
After being inspired by the Additive Free sisters to purchase some vanilla beans online through them and make their vanilla bean paste (which I highly recommend you try) I thought I would also commit and make my own vanilla extract. It is so easy!
8 Vanilla Bean Pods 700ml Vodka
Split your vanilla bean pods in half and pop into the vodka. Shake.
Pop into your panty or somewhere that is cool and dark. Once a week (or whenever you remember) give the bottle a shake.
After 6 weeks, the flavour is strong enough to use as vanilla extract. The flavour continues to develop the longer it sits.
A note from Gracious Goodness :
When your mix is getting low, simply top up with more vodka, throw in another vanilla bean for some fresh kick and start the process again.
2020 - My vanilla extract has been a continuous bottle for over 3 years now using this top up method. I love it and because I keep adding vanilla beans each time I top up, the flavour develops faster with subsequent batches.