Posted by Sara on Dec - 7 - 2013 under Other Recipes

1 liter of vodka of your choice, bottom shelf will work perfectly well. For a more dimensional extract you can try to use rum, bourbon or sherry. I prefer the traditional approach.

15 vanilla beans. has excellent prices for this highly prized item.
Cooking time: 15, 4-6 months for full infusion Serving: 2 people
                                                                                                Photo by Sara K. 2013

Vanilla beans are the seed pods of the Mexican and Central American orchid plant of the genius Vanilla. They are the second most expensive spice in the world, saffron being the first. The etymological origin of this word comes from the Spanish word “vainilla”, diminutive  of the word “vaina” meaning “sheath”.

I personally feel that store bought vanilla extract is either way too expensive or of inferior quality. With a little patience and a little love, you can have your very own liter of vanilla extract. Please be warned, this is a long process, and it takes about 4-6 months for the concoction to be properly infused for your cookies and cakes.


Pour out about 1/4 of the vodka from the bottle to make room for the vanilla beans. (You could also drink this to celebrate your liberation from the constraints of store bought extracts) Split the beans down the middle with a very sharp knife and put into the vodka bottle, making sure not to neglect any of the “caviar” paste that squeezes out of the pods onto the knife and the cutting board. Close and shake. You should shake this about once per week and allow to infuse for 4-6 months. It should be a very dark brown when ready to use. The extract will only get better with age. Some recommend to remove the vanilla beans after 6 months, but I have kept mine in for more than 2 years. The longer the better. This could make a wonderful holiday gift!


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