Thursday, June 16, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is something we use a lot of around here. In fact, I am a big believer that you should always add more to the recipe than called for. Especially in waffles and chocolate chip cookies. That being said, it's hard to be extravagant with something that costs so much.

A few years ago, I spotted an article in a Martha Stewart magazine with a surprisingly simple tutorial on making your own vanilla extract. You split 3 vanilla beans, drop them in 1 cup of vodka (unflavored here, of course), and wait 3 months. We have discovered that the longer you let the extract steep, the more intense the flavor. Voila! Homemade vanilla extract! But I wondered if we were really saving any money. Here's the break down:

The price of pure vanilla extract can vary widely. I've priced it at anywhere from $0.81 to $3.25 a fluid ounce, with an average cost of $0.88 a fl. oz. Of course, this is one area where I firmly believe you get what you pay for. We spent a total of $33.00 for vanilla beans and vodka. I purchased Madagascar beans this time, which were a bit more than the mexican beans we used last time. We'll have to wait and see if the flavor is noticeably different. So for our $33.00 we got 50 fl. oz. of extract (or will have come October); that's $0.66 a fl. oz. I'd say that's a great deal, considering I know exactly what's in it (and NOT in it). At that price, and with 50 fl. oz. hanging around, I feel like I can afford to be extravagant in my baking. Well worth it.


Michelle said...

This is the coolest thing since sliced bread! I'd have never known I could make my own. Thanks for sharing. I just might give it a try. That is a BIG savings, too. I look forward to the follow up post in October, to know if the beans made a difference. :-) Where did you order the beans? Either Mexico or Madagascar.

Amy H said...

We have a great spice store in town called Penzy's. I don't know if there is one near you, but you can order from them on-line. We have also found beans at our local higher-end grocery store in the gormet food aisle or the spice aisle. The brand is Melissa's - they are also on-line if you can't find them locally. Good luck!

Melody said...

Your label is beautiful. Do you make or buy these labels. If you purchased them, may I ask where?

Naomi Stensrud said...

 I got beans from Beanilla recently. My first order was for grade b vanilla beans from Madagascar and my second order was for cute little jars to gift the extract in. The beans were top notch.. the shipping was fast on both the beans and the glassware. I love that they also have a  rewards program for future savings!! Check out their website.. I know you will enjoy it! Use my referral code. 5996298