Sunday, May 12

Homemade Vanilla Extract After Three Months

I took time today to strain and bottle the vanilla extract that I began "brewing" three months ago.  I was planning on doing some baking today, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to sample this new pantry staple.  When I opened the bottle, the smell was just intoxicating!  I am so excited to have a homemade extract for my baking that I bet I never go back to store-bought again.  The price of the beans and vodka are really not that great for as often as I would be making it, plus I have the added bonus of knowing just what is in my extract.  Win-win!
Since the original post showed only the brewing and storage process, I'll share my straining and bottling process with you now.  Get a container that has a reliable pour spout that won't dribble (you want to save every last delicious drop that you can--three months or more is a long time to wait for more extract), cheesecloth or coffee filter, your clean bottles or containers for the extract, a funnel, and a wet paper towel.  Cover your work surface with paper towels or something absorbent to prevent the vanilla from staining your work surface.  If it does stain, you can clean it by gently rubbing the countertop with a wet toothbrush and some baking soda (as long as you can use a mild abrasive on your counters).

Place the cheesecloth or filter over top of the container, and slowly pour the extract through to strain.  Remove the beans and set these aside for later. 
The remains of the vanilla beans.  You can see the little brown caviar specks on the side of the jar.
Using the funnel, pour the extract into the bottles.  I have 8 one-ounce bottles and 2 four-ounce bottles.  The one-ounce bottles are for gifts, if you're nice to me :) .
One 16 oz. jar yields all of this!
Using cobalt-colored or amber-colored bottles are preferred.  The colors of these bottles filter out UV light.  Clear glass is still fine to use, but I'd recommend keeping the clear bottles in a dark place.  To be honest, though, I don't know how UV light affects vanilla's just been something I've read numerous times when looking into making this stuff.  Just passin' it along to you all.
So, you have your vanilla extract all strained and in the bottles!  Good for you.  Treat yo'self with some delicious baked goodness.

Now, what to do with these leftover pieces of beans?
Vanilla sugar!

Spread the beans in a single layer on a paper towel.  I put a piece of wax paper under the paper towel and spread them out on a smaller baking sheet, but you can dry them however you wish. 
Mix one bean in per cup of sugar, and let it sit and absorb the vanilla flavor for a week or two.  The sugar should start turning light brown as the vanilla is absorbed.  Vanilla sugar just adds a little extra "oomph" to your baking.  You'll be glad you did!


  1. thanks for this post. I just the other day put some vanilla pods in a jar with vodka and I hadn't yet thought about what to do next, seeing as you have to wait so long anyway :) I will look at getting some bottles to store it in and I like the idea of small gift bottles.

  2. Hi Liz! Thanks, and welcome!


Thanks for your comment! Your input is appreciated. Don't worry, it'll post soon. Have a good day!