Some people ask WHY??? Why make it when you can buy it at the store? Well one reason is it has a much more intense flavor then store bought extract and it's much more economical to make your own plus you pretty much have a never ending supply of great vanilla extract and it's not synthetic like some vanillas you buy at the grocery store.
I have only made it with Vodka but you can use rum, everclear, bourbon, etc. just as long as it's a high proof alcohol like 70 proof or higher. I like to use Vanilla flavored Vodka, it gives it a little bit more flavor. You can also use different types of vanilla beans like Tahitian vanilla beans, Mexican beans or Madagascar vanilla beans. I prefer to use Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla beans from OliveNation they offer a great bean, it's black, glossy, moist and supple! They are also offering my readers a 10% discount if you would like to try their products just use coupon code wedemeyer10 at checkout.
Here’s how to make your own extract:
Use a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down the center of the vanilla beans, leaving about an inch at the top of the vanilla bean uncut make sure you do this on wax paper so you don't lose any of the dark caviar looking seeds. I then scrap the seeds out and put into the jar.
Put the vanilla beans in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. I used a small canning jar to make the extract then pour it into pretty glass bottles when finished. When you are totally finished the color does darken up nicely and smells divine! I've also heard that some people just open the bottle of alcohol and put the beans directly in it, I haven't tried that but I'm sure it would work if you poured a little bit out to make room for the vanilla beans.
Cover the beans completely with alcohol. It’s three vanilla beans per cup of alcohol, so if you use 2 cups of vodka split open six vanilla beans and throw them in the jar.
Tightly cover the jar and give it a good shake. Store in a cool dry place for 2-3 months. Give the bottle a good shake every 3 days or so, just so you don’t forget all about it.
After 2-3 months have passed, your vanilla extract should be ready for your favorite chocolate chip cookie or pound cake recipe. You might also want to put the extract in cute, tiny bottles and give them to your favorite baker friends and I always make sure I have a batch that I start in the summer that I use just for holiday baking.
******After you are finished I take the vanilla beans out of the extract and dry them off and then put them into a canister of sugar for a few weeks and then you have vanilla sugar, which we use in beverages like tea or even in baking!**********