I love to cook and bake. I end up using a lot of vanilla. I never buy imitation vanilla. I like the real stuff here. The cheapest source I have found for real vanilla is Aldi grocery store. I pay around $1.34 per ounce.
Last year I came across a recipe for homemade vanilla! What a great idea! I decided I wanted to make homemade vanilla for myself and to give as Christmas gifts. The problem was I never got around to it in time to make it for gifts! It takes about 6 months to ferment.
One of my goals for 2012 was to work on a Christmas gift each month and well I am about a half a year behind. I still have lots of time though!
Homemade vanilla is very simple to make. You need vanilla beans and vodka and a jar or jars to put it in.
In order to have my vanilla ready by December, I would have to make it by June at the latest. So a couple of weeks ago I went to the liquor store. I don’t believe I have ever been in a liquor store before. Who knew there was so many different types of vodka! I picked the cheapest vodka they had. I was really fascinated by all of the different wines from all over the world, but that is another story for another day. Back to the vanilla making!
I have read several different vanilla recipes and have learned you can make as much or as little vanilla as you would like. I decided to purchase 2 liters of vodka. I purchased my vanilla beans from Amazon through Olive Nation. I purchased 27 beans for $14.95 (and free super saver shipping!). The vodka was around $16.00.
I used 2 quart and 1 pint canning jars I had on hand.
Step one~cut your vanilla bean down the middle of the bean leaving the end intact.
I used three vanilla beans per cup, so for the two quart jars I put in 9 vanilla beans. I left a bit of room for shaking so I only put about three cups each in the quart jars.
Step 2~add the vodka to the jars.
Step 3~drop your vanilla beans into the jars and be sure the lids are on tight.
That’s it! Your done! Store your vanilla in a dark place and give them a shake once a week! This makes about 68 oz. of vanilla. I pay around $1.35 an oz. for vanilla at Aldi, if I purchased 68 oz. of Aldi vanilla I would be paying $91.80 for vanilla. Making my own only cost me $31.00 or 46 cents per ounce!
When your six months is up. Strain your vanilla and you are ready to use it! I will be using a coffee filter and then you can put it in smaller bottles. I plan on purchasing some small bottles later in the year and will be giving our homemade vanilla as gifts!