Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making Vanilla Extract

Today I was due to make some more vanilla extract, so I thought I would share the process with those that are unfamiliar with it. I've made vanilla extract in the past, but I needed to make a new batch that matched up with our GAPS diet.

I began making our vanilla extract back when we took corn syrup out of our diet. The vanilla extract that I had been using contained corn syrup so, instead of searching for one that was pure, I decided to just make my own. It's really a simple process that takes very little time. The lengthy part is waiting for it to be ready to use.

I started off by purchasing a 750 mL bottle of vodka and 1 oz. vanilla beans. I'm not particular about the type of vodka I purchase, but I do like to get good vanilla beans. I purchased my beans through Mountain Rose Herbs.

I opened the vodka and poured out a bit of the liquid so I would have plenty of room for the beans.

Then, using kithcen scissors, I took each of the vanilla beans and cut them in half down the length of the bean. I left about an inch or so intact at the top of the bean. Then I placed each bean in the bottle of alcohol.

After all the beans were placed in the bottle, I poured in some of the liquid that I had previously removed. Of course, not all of it would fit, but most of it did. Then I placed a label on the bottle showing the date that I started the extract and the date I expected it to be ready for use.

I like to let my extract sit for two months before using it. I just sit it up in a cabinet and give it a little shake every so often when I open up the cabinet and see it sitting there.

Here is the newly made vodka-based vanilla extract next to a rum-based vanilla extract that I made back in August. (Rum isn't allowed on GAPS..that's why I needed to make a vodka version.) The extract will take on a dark color over time, so eventually my vodka-based extract will look like what the rum-based one does now.

Anyhow, that's all it takes. It's really easy to make your own vanilla extract and then you don't have to worry about any hidden "badness" in there.


  1. This is awesome. I'm gonna try it. The natural stuff is so expensive, so for a little bit more money I could get a whole lot more extract.

  2. I just made some a few weeks ago using bourbon. I didn't know I needed to cut the bean. Should I take them out and and cut them, or would you just leave it?

  3. Hmmm Marcee, I don't know for sure. I would think that an uncut vanilla bean would still make vanilla extract, but perhaps it would take longer?? I know that with mine the insides of the beans will disperse in the alcohol when I shake the bottle. I assumed that the bean breaking down was helping to create the extract. If you left the beans intact I sure would be interested to know how it turned out!

  4. It works, Rhyah and it's good. You can't go wrong! Talk about more... We made ours a year and a half ago and we're still working on it. I love my raw vanilla bean powder though. That's a treat!

  5. So the Vodka is okay? I was wondering since Vodka is made from wheat or potatoes. I have a whole gallon of homemade vanilla that I thought was unavailable to me. Is Vodka gluten free?

  6. The Smiths,
    Before doing GAPS we were simply gluten-free. At that time I made my vanilla extract out of rum because I had the same concerns as you regarding vodka. However, Dr. McBride's book specifically lists vodka as being acceptable on a very occasional basis. So, I am simply following her instructions in the book. Sorry..I know that's not exactly the information you were looking for, but that's all I know!

  7. I have heard you can get vodka made from potatoes too.