This homemade vanilla extract recipe makes the most potent, incredible vanilla extract with which you will ever bake.
When it comes to vanilla extract, you should always use pure, and if possible, make it yourself. The difference between store-bought extract and the extract I make at home is like night and day.
My secret: my vanilla extract infuses for 2 years. Yes, 2 years.
A lot of people who make their own will start using it after about 6 months, but at that point the potency is actually still quite weak. After a year, you have a typical store-bought quality vanilla extract. At the 18-month mark, you'll have a decent extract on par with a good quality store-bought version. By the time it reaches 24 months and beyond, you have an extract that is about triple the potency of your average store-bought vanilla extract.
The aroma and flavour is just so insanely good, you will never want to go back to store-bought again.
There are two ways to make vanilla extract: using alcohol, or using food grade vegetable glycerine. I use white rum. I have never used vegetable glycerine, but I understand it also will work just fine.
You can actually use any number of spirits, but it will impact the taste of the extract. In general any clear spirits (vodka, gin, rum) will work. If you want to get experimental, you can try spiced rum, flavoured vodka, bourbon, etc.
As for the vanilla bean itself, I go for a grade-A bourbon vanilla bean, though other varieties are also fine. Vanilla beans can be quite expensive, but get the best you can afford. I typically pick up a pack of 10 beans for about $30 CAD. This is enough to make 5, 4 fl.oz. bottles with 2 beans each.
I try to make a batch each year, as it usually takes me over a year to use a bottle. The extras I gift to lucky friends, and family.
TIP: The bottles I use are glass with a lined cap. You do not want metal touching the extract. If all you have is a metal cap (or plastic), line it with a piece of wax paper.
(Makes 5, 4 fl.oz. bottles | Serving size = 1 teaspoon)
10, grade-A bourbon vanilla beans, cut and scored
white rum, enough to fill the bottles
Cut the vanilla beans in half then using a knife, score each half bean to split it open.
Place 4 halves (2 cut beans) in each bottle.
Fill each bottle with rum (or the spirit of your choice), leaving a little room at the top for movement when you shake the bottles.
Seal tightly with a cap.
Shake each bottle daily for the first month, then weekly for the following four months, and monthly every month after that up to 24 months.
After 24 months, use as you would other vanilla extracts, except you will only require 1/3 of the amount called for in recipes (e.g., if a recipe instructs you to use 1 teaspoon, only use 1/3 teaspoon).
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
total calories = 11 | total fat = 0g | saturated fat = 0g | cholesterol = 0mg | sodium = 0.008mg | carbohydrates = 0.014g | dietary fibre = 0g | sugars = 0.014g | protein = 0g