We’ve been wanting to do this for a while – not sure why we waited so long.
It’s so easy.
Step 1: Order some vanilla beans. Following some advice given over on food52, we ordered them straight off Ebay. They were surprisingly cheap, and this particular website even had a “buy three 10-packs get one 10-pack free” deal. Sweet!
In the process of ordering the beans, we learned that there were two main varieties available – Tahitian and Madagascar Bourbon – and there were two basic grades: Grade A (also called “Gourmet” or “Prime”) and Grade B (also called “Extract Grade”).
Step 2: Choose a container to hold the extract. The same website from which we ordered the beans suggested using 10 beans per roughly 5 1/3 ounces of liquor (i.e., 1/3 of a pint). So we searched for 6 ounce sealable glass containers that looked somewhat nifty, and found these little guys at TJ-Max of all places. They were initially filled with cupcake sprinkles.
Step 4: Select ten beans of one variety and cut them into thirds.
Step 5: Place the cut beans in the glass container, fill the container almost completely with your alcohol of choice, seal the container, and give it a nice shake.
Step 6: Store the container in a cool, dark place, and shake the container once a day for about a month. Viola! Homemade vanilla extract!
The liquid will slowly turn a rich, dark caramel color. This picture was taken after just one day!
We’ll let you know in a month how it turns out. We’ve got two extracts going currently: Tahitian and Madagascar Bourbon. And apparently, you can reuse the same beans to make several batches of extract. Pretty cool.
If you’ve made your own vanilla extract, let us know how it turned out.