Homemade for the Holidays #25: Homemade Vanilla {for next year!}

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I am going to be trying something new this holiday season…making some homemade vanilla!  Now it is too late for me to give away homemade vanilla for gifts this Christmas, but next Christmas..yes…can’t wait!  I have read in many places online about how much  people LOVE their homemade vanilla…how good it tastes…and how much cheaper it is than buying pure vanilla extract in the store.  So…I decided it was time for me to give it a try!

In doing my research online, I found that most recipes use Vodka and vanilla beans to make the vanilla extract.  I just couldn’t bring myself to go down to the local liquor store to buy some Vodka, so I kept researching for some other “non-alcoholic” recipe I could try.  Guess what?  I found one!  The recipe I am going to try uses food grade vegetable glycerin.  I already ordered my vanilla beans, and am now waiting on the glycerin.  I found I could order a whole gallon through Azure Standard and it was quite reasonable (This is my first Azure Standard order too.  I found out that Azure now has a delivery truck that delivers just 15 miles from my home!  I am SO excited!  I ordered glycerin, wheat berries, rolled oats, and some golden delicious apples-a 20# box for $12!)  Anyway, I will be picking up my order next week, then I’ll be ready to start my vanilla!

Here is the recipe I plan on using:

Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Extract

  • 2-4 vanilla beans (using more beans will speed up the “steeping” time)
  • 2 cups glycerin

Cut the vanilla beans down the middle and place in pint jar.  You may need to cut the beans into pieces so that the beans are totally covered with the glycerin.

Add glycerin.

Cover with a canning lid to seal tight.  Shake for a couple minutes then place in a dark cupboard.

Get jar out and shake once a day for a week, then once a week for a month or two.  The longer you let the vanilla “steep”, the stronger the flavor.

Once the vanilla is to your liking, strain out the beans and pour into bottles to store.

You can re-use the vanilla beans to make another batch, but it may take them longer to “steep” to the desired strength.  You can also dry out the vanilla beans after you have used them two or three times to make vanilla, cut them up, and place them in a jar with sugar.  Allow to sit for a couple weeks and you will have vanilla sugar!  Yum!

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make a larger quantity of extract.

I think I will start by making 2 quarts to start with to see how it goes.  I will definitely be posting about how it goes here on my blog, so be watching for those posts early next year!

Here are some links to where you can buy vanilla beans and bottles:

Have any of you made homemade vanilla extract before?  How did you like it?  Have fun!

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  1. Sheri, I feel the same way about buying the vodka: I know it is in the extracts we buy, but I just cannot do it! I've never purchased alcohol- nor have used it- and just cannot bring myself to. Thanks for this recipe.
  2. Sheri: I made homemade Vanilla some time ago. I found a recipe that simply used water to make the vanilla. It was ok but not as good as regular vanilla. It did not have the taste to it. I used it but it took more to make something with the flavor. I let it sit for almost 2 weeks and it was still week. I was told later when making Vanilla with water you need to let it sit for 6 weeks or more to get the good flavor. Jackie

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