Five Island Sojourners

A blog about Homeschool, Cooking and Life in the Tropics

How to Make Vanilla Extract

on July 13, 2012

On our island, 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract will cost you $2.  It’s not even the good stuff– it’s some kind of sugary, syrupy concoction that is a brownish/black color.  Honestly, I’d be a little scared to put that stuff in my food.  You can also buy a white powder that claims to be vanilla flavoring.  That’s just wrong.  Seriously?!! White powder?!!  Have you seen a vanilla bean?  Picture a 7-inch long, dried out raisin.  Cut it open, and luscious brown liquid starts oozing out.  Scrape it into a bowl, mix it with greek yogurt and you’ve got yourself a little taste of heaven.  Don’t forget to lick your fingers and the cutting board and any other surface where the vanilla innards leaked out (surely there is a more delicious term for that– sorry).  Anyway, my point is–there’s no white powder involved anywhere.

So, I began making my own vanilla extract a few years ago.  It’s extremely cheap to do here since you can buy a vanilla bean for a dime.  I kid you not.  I bought 10 for $1.00 last year and I wish I had bought 50–just for the principle of the matter.

First, buy 5 vanilla beans.  I bought 10 at Costco last year for about $10, so you can get them affordably  now in the States.

Next comes the fun part: go buy yourself 1 liter of plain vodka– no flavorings or special stuff.  Take a swig, just because you can.   There is actually a good reason for this, which I will explain momentarily.  Then, split five vanilla beans in half lengthwise.  Don’t scrape out any of that good stuff, but some will “accidentally” slip out and you can just lick that off. No one is watching.  Then toss those puppies into the vanilla extract.  If you have moral or religious or practical or pregnancy reasons for not taking that swig, you’ll need to dump out a few tablespoons of vodka or you’ll have a mess on your hands, just ask Archimedes.  Eureka!  Props to any homeschool Moms who understand that lame joke.

Then, place the bottle in the top shelf of your cupboard for 4-6 weeks.  The alcohol will leach the flavor out of that vanilla bean and you will have real, authentic vanilla flavoring on your hands.  None of that artificial stuff.

I apologize for the ugly white tile.  The sad truth is: it’s my kitchen counter top.

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2 responses to “How to Make Vanilla Extract

  1. Sarah says:

    I love you and I love your new blog! It’s about time. 🙂

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