Making Homemade Vanilla Extract (aka…Why Laura Bought a Gallon of Vodka)

Learn to make Homemade Vanilla Extract!

How To Make Vanilla Extract

Yes indeed. The four boys and I went into Walmart a few days ago for the sole purpose of buying vodka. A gallon of it.

I felt the need to tell the check out lady why I was buying an entire gallon of vodka. She just looked at me like I was a lunatic and shrugged as if to say, “Hey, do whatever you want to with your vodka, girl.”

And then she wouldn’t let Justus carry it out of the store. You know…just in case I was buying the vodka for my nine year old minor.

It made for some good discussion on the way home: what drinking alcohol can do to your brain…why the lady had to make sure I was over 21 to buy it…why it’s okay to carry a watermelon out of Walmart when you’re nine but not a couple jugs of vodka.

All that to say:  I just started my very first batch of homemade vanilla!!! I’m super excited.  My friend Jill sent me a beautiful bottle of her homemade vanilla a couple of weeks ago and it’s fabulous!!! (I guess you could say that I was pressured by a friend into buying alcohol. “Go ahead Laura…make your own vanilla. Everyone’s doing it.”)

Now that I’m hooked on the idea…I thought I’d try to influence you too…

What You Need to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

A gallon jar
One gallon of Vodka (the cheap stuff is fine) (To keep you from standing in the liquor section too long to calculate this…2 bottles of 1.75 liters each will be the exact amount you need to make a gallon of vanilla.)
50-80 Vanilla Beans (You’ll need about 1/2 – 3/4 pound) – enter code home for a 20% discount + free shipping on Vanilla Beans through Olive Nation!!
Kitchen shears

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Begin by slicing through each bean lengthwise, leaving about one inch at the top of each bean uncut so that it stays together.

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See? Like this…

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Place all of your cut Vanilla Beans into your jar.

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Fill the jar with vodka. (I took the following picture with my left hand while pouring the vodka with my right hand. This proves that apparently…I can really handle my liquor.)

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Once the jar is full with beans and vodka, put the lid on…then put the jar in a dark place (like in the back of a cabinet). It needs to stay there for FOUR to SIX MONTHS in order to become vanilla extract! Occasionally, you should get it out and shake it up a bit, then put it back into it’s dark place.

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Here’s the cool thing:  If you start a batch of vanilla really soon, it will be ready in time to put into little bottles and give as Christmas gifts.  (Family members reading this – you have exactly six months to forget all about this post and be surprised on Christmas morning.)  If you don’t get it started right this minute, from what I’ve researched, a little less than six months of “vanilla extracting” time won’t hurt anything.

To complete your vanilla once four-six months have passed:  strain out your vanilla beans with a coffee filter lined colander and tada…you have vanilla extract! Bottle it up in dark amber bottles – give it as gifts and start cooking with it yourself!! Yum!

AND…if you don’t want to make a whole gallon of vanilla…you can make a lesser amount:

  • 1/2 gallon of vanilla….use 1/2 gallon of vodka (1.75 liters) and 20-30 Vanilla Beans (enter code home for a 20% discount!)
  • 1 quart of vanilla…use one quart of vodka and 10-15 Vanilla Beans (enter code home for a 20% discount!)

Well…I know I’ve influenced many of you to eat healthier and plant potatoes in a container. Is it now possible that several of you are going to run out to buy liquor? Tell the clerk the Heavenly Homemaker sent you.
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Read this post to learn how to finish and strain your vanilla after 4-6 months.

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I recommend that you purchase your Vanilla Beans through Olive Nation!! You’ll receive FREE SHIPPING and if you enter the code home you’ll receive 20% off your entire order!!!! (The free shipping applies to vanilla bean purchases only!) I bought my most recent batch of vanilla beans through Olive Nation and was VERY happy with their prices, promptness and quality of vanilla beans. Plus free shipping and a 10% discount? It can’t be beat! Thank you Olive Nation for offering HeavenlyHomemakers readers free shipping and a special 20% discount!

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You can purchase dark amber bottles here.

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Here’s where I ordered my labels for vanilla bottles.

Comments

  1. says

    I remember being carded the first time I bought beer for homemade beer bread. I almost felt guilty, and I ended up explaining to the cashier that I was making bread with it. They do look at you like you have two heads when you explain your alcohol purchases!

    Thanks for the GREAT gift idea!! I have some foodie friends who would really appreciate this. Do you have any idea what the shelf life of the vanilla is once it becomes extract?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would imagine that the vanilla you make should last for several years…should it last for that many years… :)

    [Reply]

  2. says

    You crack me up! :)

    Not only was this an informative post, but also quite hilarious. “handle your liquor well” hahahahah! good one. :)

    I have been wanting to try this, but didn’t really know what type of vodka to buy. Is there good stuff? bad stuff? I even heard of potato vodka once? Is there organic vodka? Does it matter? Too many options. I like your comment of “the cheap stuff is fine” – that helped! thank you!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    All I know is that I was told that it just really didn’t matter about the quality of vodka. You’d think I might have looked for organic (is there such thing as organic vodka?). I was mostly just trying to hurry out of the liquor aisle.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    I really like your tutorial on homemade bread, and you linked here. But, I saw this and had to say that yes…there is such thing as Organic Vodka. A friend got some as a gift or something, and as a joke gave it to me, because they are almost anti-organic, where I’m working on being full blown organic, :)

    [Reply]

    Jenn Reply:

    Ok, I think I can help you out a little bit. All alcohol is made by fermenting some type of grain, fruit, etc. Vodka is made by fermenting potatoes. I’m not sure about organic vodka, but I know they make organic beer, so organic vodka might exist. As far as the kind, don’t get anything with flavor, just the regular stuff. More expensive vodka tastes better and is supposed to be less likely to give you a hangover. Since you obviously won’t be drinking copious amounts of vanilla, your best bet is to go with the absolute cheapest vodka you can find. As I understand it, it is the quality of the vanilla beans, not the quality of the alcohol makes vanilla taste good.

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  3. says

    I love it! Here in Montana you have to go to an actual liquor store to buy hard alcohol, I wanted to do vanilla two Christmases ago, and it took me a while to decide it was actually worth it to go to a liquor store to buy it, but I got bourbon (I think!) instead of vodka. I was 23 and had my newborn with me and didn’t get carded :o)

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  4. says

    I posted about doing this too…Wow I feel like you are my soul sister. It’s in my March blog archive. I think I even put down the same whereabouts for buying the vanilla beans. (right now I am humming the theme for the Twilight zone).

    Thanks for reminding me, I need to start making some vanilla.

    Check out making Calendula oil I have posted there.

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  5. says

    I just started my ‘vanilla experiment’ about a week ago. I, too, was scandalized by having to buy vodka. This was my very first alcoholic beverage purchase in all my 40 years. It felt so strange. I also had to explain my purchase to the cashier who was somewhat interested to hear that you can make your own vanilla extract.

    I think this will be the Christmas of homemade vanilla along the vein of previous ‘mix in a jar’ and ‘gel air freshener’ crazes. It seems like everybody is doing the vanilla lately.

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  6. says

    Interesting post! I’ve never seen homemade vanilla before. And I thought your story was hilarious, especially the part in the comments section about trying to hurry out of the liquor aisle. My husband drinks occasionally but I do not, and he laughs at me because I don’t want anyone to see me looking at or buying alcohol. He’s explained to me that people buy it all the time, and aren’t even going to give it a second thought when they see someone else buying it, but I still won’t buy it. Good thing I don’t like the stuff!

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  7. says

    Laura you are hilirious! This is amazing too…I was just telling my hubby how easy it is to MAKE the crazy expensive vanilla (I think I saw Cheeseslave make it), but how hard it would be for me to buy vodka! I might just have to go buy it now!
    So, does this make it organic? What would?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you used organic vanilla beans and organic vodka it would create organic vanilla. I used regular on both so mine isn’t organic.

    [Reply]

  8. says

    Oh, and what was the total cost?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh YEAH, I meant to talk about that in my post. To make one gallon:

    One gallon of vodka: $24.00
    80 vanilla beans: $48.00
    Total cost: $72.00

    Cost to PURCHASE a 4 oz. bottle of vanilla: $5.00+ depending on where you get it.

    Cost of homemade vanilla per 4 oz.: $2.24

    Pretty nice savings!! :)

    [Reply]

  9. says

    This reminds me of buying hard alcohol to have around for sore throats. The lady was impressed, “Who told you about drinking brandy for sore throats, Hon?” I got the blackberry flavored kind. It not only disinfects and numbs the throat, it puts me to sleep too (so nice when you’re sick). Too bad I couldn’t use it while I was pregnant! The smallest bottle I could buy is still going to last us a long time. And it was a very scary feeling going into the liquor part of the store to buy it. I just KNEW someone I knew was going to run into me on my way in or out (they didn’t).

    I’ll have to look into doing this myself. I suppose the same concept would work with mint or lemon and such?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm I never thought about it but I’m sure it would work with mint or lemon. Maybe I’d better go get me some more liquor. :)

    [Reply]

  10. says

    You are too funny! Great idea, thank you for sharing! We love vanilla around here, so I’ll probably be buying some liquor too…heehee

    [Reply]

  11. says

    Oh, we have some in the cupboard that we’re making….but a much smaller amount.

    Walmart sells alcohol there?!?!?! Crazy! We have to go to the Beer Store or the Liquor store for anything alcoholic.

    Only you could make such a funny post! Good luck.

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  12. says

    Oh man, to have been a fly on your shoulder and have seen that clerk’s face would have been priceless…On a better note, yummy! Thanks for the tip.

    [Reply]

  13. says

    My sister gave us a bottle of vodka vanilla for Christmas last year… and my wife loves it. She even includes a little in her hot chocolate [smile].

    ~Luke

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  14. says

    Wow. That’s just about all I can say. Wow. I am SO making my own vanilla this weekend! I love the idea of giving it as a Christmas gift..I can just see it…pretty packaging and trying to convince my family I did infact make these and NO I did not tip the bottle a little. Bookmarked and Stumbled! I cannot forget this! Thanks!
    Oh, and you are too funny! I will be back!

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  15. says

    best. post. ever. I can’t stop laughing at you… er, with you. Organic vodka? hehehehe

    I’m glad you mentioned the cost involved. It’s actually a bit higher than I thought. But, still a great deal. I just might have to try this!

    [Reply]

  16. says

    I forgot to ask… and maybe you posted it somewhere and I overlooked it. If you pour it into smaller containers, after 6 months, to give as gifts, do you leave the beans in there?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    No, sorry I forgot to mention that part. After six months, you remove the beans.

    [Reply]

  17. says

    I’ve seen this same thing blogged about before, by a family who’s been doing this for awhile. BUT – their recipe is considerably different… I think it was 3 or 4 beans per ‘jug’, and they let it sit for 3 or more months. I’m currently making a batch that way right now.

    Now I’m worried, though… That’s a pretty big difference!

    Here’s the link, if you want. (oh, it looks like her bottle is smaller, but still far fewer vanilla beans)

    [Reply]

  18. Kathy Shaner says

    This is funny– about 3 weeks ago I went out and bought vodka and rum for making vanilla. And I felt like I needed to explain myself too. BUT. I didn’t buy a GALLON. I bought a couple smaller bottles, and it’s just for us around the house. For VANILLA. I read that rum or whiskey work for vanilla, so I decided to try it. We’ll see! It really does work out cheaper than buying the good vanilla extract, doesn’t it?

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  19. says

    I bought vanilla beans a couple of months ago and still haven’t bought the Vodka! I keep forgetting, and our Wal-Mart apparently doesn’t have a license to carry it. :-) I was just telling my husband that I have to remember to buy some so I can get this stuff going – you’ve inspired me!

    I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before, but I love your blog!

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  20. Serenity says

    Laura I feel your pain! I buy vodka to make vodka cream pasta sauce. My husband and I don’t drink at all so I was really embarassed to be purchasing vodka. ESPECIALLY, when the clerk wouldn’t let me buy it because it was 5am. I tried to explain that it was for pasta sauce but I am pretty sure she thought I was a lush as she grabbed it out of my hands :) Totally embarassing!!!! I don’t grocery shop at 5am anymore!

    PS: My mom (Jill) gave me some of her vanilla, too, and boy is it yummy :)

    [Reply]

  21. says

    That’s funny. Actually we already have a stash of vodka for homemade mouthwash. But we would need more. It looks interesting.

    [Reply]

  22. says

    This makes the best vanilla. I got some as a wedding gift and just now ran out of it. I am about to make some more on my own. Thank you for showing all the steps to make it.

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  23. Barbara says

    This post is TOO FUNNY, as are all the comments!!! I think I’m going to send my husband to WalMart to get me some Vodka – I’m certainly not going to buy it, because the Pastor’s mother will probably be there and see me, my b/p would skyrocket from embarrassment, and I too would feel that I need to explain myself to the check-out clerk!!!

    QUESTION – what types of bottles do you put these in and where do you purchase them? I’ve saved my Simply Organic Vanilla bottles (just in case I needed them for something!), but I won’t have enough to use as gifts and I’m not sure it would be ok to give them ‘used’ bottles . . .

    Thanks for making me laugh today!

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    I think one of those large pickle jars would be the perfect size, but you would have to purchase the pickles and in our house that would be a waste because we rarely eat pickles. Maybe you could call a local restaurant and see if they have any large jars they are throwing out.

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  24. says

    This is the Jill who gave Laura the homemade vanilla. Just a couple of things. The more beans the richer the flavor. You can always add more beans if you started it and dont feel like you have enough in your jar. Second, do take out the beans at the end of the 6 months. Now, what to do with those beans?

    Do NOT throw them away. Now you can make vanilla sugar. It is much like cinammon sugar but yummier. Take all the beans out and strain the vanilla through a coffee filter. It will take out the little caviar left. Now, put all the beans on a cookie sheet and leave on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days. They will change color and dry out which is what you want. Now buy sugar. Sorry Laura I used white sugar. Put sugar in a large container and add the beans and close. Please make sure the beans are dry. I let them sit 5 days, it wont matter. In just a few days you have vanilla sugar that you can sprinkle on anything you want sweet.I am using some for snickerdoodles. You have enough to make 15 # of vanilla sugar. Now go to your local grocery store and purchase a little jar that shakes. Fill it and put a pretty label on it and give it as the second gift with the vanilla extract for Christmas. I love it. I am working on my third gallon :) Hope that helps.

    Blessings
    Jill

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    I’m curious why you take the beans out after 6 months? I use about 3 or 4 beans in a small jar and just leave them in. I’ve had mine in the bottle for over two years, and as long as they stay covered with the alcohol (I add more each time I use it), they are fine. The vanilla sugar does sound yummy though!

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  25. says

    I bought a bottle of Perpetual Vanilla from Hartley’s Herbs at a craft show in Jacksonville, FL many, many years ago (about 10!). It’s the same as what you have featured here (You can use either rum or vodka as the alcohol base). I had one (small) bottle of the vanilla for about three years (I used it frequently and just added a bit more rum each time). I found it was less expensive for me to buy the kit from Steve at Hartley’s Herbs than it was to buy the vanilla beans on my own. If anyone is interested in ordering from Hartley’s Herbs, the link is: http://www.hartleysherbs.com/perpetual_vanilla.html They’re a great company (with which I am in no way affiliated)! BTW, their clove and cinnamon extracts are also phenomenal! (You can use the cinnamon extract for anything you would ordinarily use ground cinnamon.)

    [Reply]

  26. says

    I posted below about the “Perpetual Vanilla” we bought from Hartley Herbs. I paid $8.00 for a 5oz bottle that contained the beans at a craft show. I just added rum. The great thing about this is that you leave the beans in indefinitely and you just add more rum each time you use it… so you end up with a LOT more than 5oz of vanilla. I’ve been using mine about 3 years, and I use it frequently. Eventually it does lose it’s flavor and you have to either add more beans or start over. With this size jar, it recommends you wait 4 weeks before using when you first add the rum, but you don’t have to wait to use it when you add additional alcohol. Make sense? Anyway, I LOVE mine – it has an unbeatable flavor when used in cookies, cakes, icing – you name it! You can do the same thing with cloves, cinnamon, and allspice! So, my point is, if you leave a few beans in the jars you give as gifts, they might be able to be refilled and used even longer… which further lowers the cost per 4oz.

    [Reply]

  27. says

    I was just planning this out yesterday, so it’d be ready for Christmas gifts. I’m glad to see it done before I actually try it– it’s my first time. Thanks for the pictures!

    [Reply]

  28. Meggan says

    I did this a few months ago! My bottle is nice and brown now…and it smells delicious! I can’t wait to try it- I didn’t use as many beans though. I think you can get away with fewer and still have a good taste. I know FDA mandates a certain # or amount or % or something to technically be “vanilla extract” but really, I don’t care if I meet their standards!!

    [Reply]

  29. says

    I am new to your site and am visiting via another blogger who like you share the passion of eating and living better. I am glad I found this post… for the past several weeks I have been needing to get me the Vodka for my Vanilla Extract making as well, sadly husband is deployed and although maybe in my former rebel life going into a liquor store would be nothing, but because of the new found love I have for Jesus…. trying to go into a liquor store by myself has been quite the challenge…especially when I have my children with me… If Liqour was sold at my walmart maybe it would be easier… who knows but Liquor is only sold in well the Liquor stores…Wanna come to OK and we go into together.. ha ha

    [Reply]

  30. says

    This is a great, funny, well-photo-documented post. Someday I’m going to run the numbers to see if homemade vanilla is really more frugal than buying bulk vanilla. Thanks for entering the Make it From Scratch Carnival!

    [Reply]

  31. Molly says

    LOL! Thanks for the laugh. I want to try this. I buy regular wine to marinate venison, the first time, I told the clerk at Aldi’s and now, they all know. Thanks for a great site.

    [Reply]

  32. Jamie says

    I’ve got a few bottles of vodka-vanilla going right now in my cupboard, and I just bought a bottle of bourbon today to try making bourbon-vanilla. I buy my liquor, er, my vanilla-making supplies at our Class 6 on post (Army liquor store), and since my husband is deployed, the kids come with me…all 4 of them! I’ve gotten some funny looks, but no comments…not even the day one of my daughters asked loudly if “all of these other people were going to make vanilla too”. Ah, the innocence of children! Our infrequent trips to the liquor store DO make for some GREAT conversations in the van, though! Thanks for making me smile today, Laura!

    [Reply]

  33. says

    Or, you could use 1 vanilla bean in a smaller jar and add vodka.

    when in Hawaii last year on a cruise, I toured The Hawaiian Vanilla Company. They sold jars with a vanilla bean inside. You filled the bottle with vodka, then kept adding vodka when it got low. It took 6 weeks for the vodka to ‘cure’.

    Here’s a link to that product. I am not sure how many ounces it is, but you could get a jar and put a vanilla bean in there. Sure cheaper than 80 vanilla beans and a gallon of vodka.

    BTW, it is the LAW a child cannot carry liquor out of a place of business. If caught, the business is liable for ‘selling to a minor’ even if they didn’t.

    [Reply]

  34. says

    I have a good friend who also shared with me the method of making homemade vanilla. My kids were also with me when I bought the vodka at Sam’s Club!! I am thinking of making my next batch with either run or bourbon (the good stuff you buy at the grocery store is usually made with this). This does make very good homemade vanilla ice cream.

    [Reply]

  35. says

    I emailed the Hawaiin Vanilla Company, the jar is 12 oz. You split the bean exposing the inner seeds, fill the 12 oz. jar with vodka. You then leave it for 6 weeks, as you use the vanilla extract, you replenish with more vodka. the bean just stays in there.

    I haven’t used my bean yet, it is vacuum sealed inside the jar, so it isn’t moldy or bad. You have all inspired me to do this now.

    [Reply]

  36. Tracy says

    I’ve order my beans and picked up the vodka. Now I’m only wondering what you use to give it in? Do you purchase glass bottles or jars? Or do you recycle bottles of jars from everyday? Specially Bottle seems to be the best online source for 4 oz amber bottle with caps, when you throw in shipping and purchase 40, it’s about $1 each. Not bad when you’re considering gifts for a LOT of daycare workers, family members, friends, neighbors….

    Thanks and love your blog!

    [Reply]

  37. Jenae says

    Do you have to use a glass container for storing or can you use the plastic container it came in? Also, any ideas on where to purchase containers for giving these as gifts?

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  38. Merrilee V says

    I got my beans in the mail today (thanks Jill for the link), and ran to the liquor store. You’re right – I too had the need to explain why I was buying 2 big bottles of vodka as I was carrying my 22 month old along with my 5-year old. The woman behind the counter didn’t even bat an eye at what I was buying. I didn’t even need to explain it to my 5-year old. She did offer to carry one of the bottles if I took it off the shelf for her.
    I ended up using 4-quart size canning jars as I didn’t have 1 gallon jar.

    Thanks for the idea! This will be fun for Christmas.

    [Reply]

  39. Rosanne says

    I stumbled onto your website and have to laugh at all the “embarrased to be seen buying liquor” comments. We must run in very different circles. No dinner party is complete without red wine. Any good BBQ should include a weirdly colored frozen drink that contains rum. Super Bowl and St. Pattys- you might as well get half a keg. Dont get me started on New Years Eve!! I dont think twice about buying liquor. Im more embarrassed to buy feminine products-and Im 42! I once went to a liquor store while I was 7 months pregnant for a get together. (I couldnt drink it, but why should my guests suffer?)You ladies come on over to my place- I make a mean pomegrante martini!!

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  40. says

    I just recently started following your blog and I have to tell you that I love it! And this idea of making your own vanilla is such a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to try it. Do you know what happends if you keep it in the jar for say 10 months? Does it just get richer?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I believe that it might get a little bit richer…but after six months, the vanilla beans are probably as “extracted” as they can get. This is my first batch though, so I’m really not for sure!

    [Reply]

  41. says

    Wow that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!!!! I will be making some of this for sure!!!!! Thank you for posting the recipe. I do have a few question. Do you store it in the gallon jug? Have you ever kept the full amount for yourself?? Did it go bad after a while? Thanks for all your help.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I put it into smaller bottles to use and give as gifts. Here’s a follow-up post I wrote about that: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/where-to-get-bottles-for-homemade-vanilla

    [Reply]

  42. Leanna says

    I am SO excited about making my own vanilla!

    I just wanted to mention that you CAN purchase organic vodka. I know of one brand, called Crop, but I’m sure there are others.

    Thanks for this post!

    [Reply]

  43. Leanna says

    Oh, I forgot to ask my question! What would happen if one were to leave their vodka/vanilla bean mixture for longer than six months?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    This is my first round of vanilla making, but I’ve left my second jar for longer than six months an it’s doing fine. Leaving it for longer won’t hurt anything!

    [Reply]

  44. Tara says

    I am wondering how long this vanilla will keep for food storage. Also, do the vanilla beans just disintegrate or do you have to strain them? I am also wondering where to find vanilla beans. I have often wanted to try different recipes that have used vanilla beans but I have never seen them at the grocery store before.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It will keep for years! You do have to strain out the vanilla beans. You can buy them at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CPZSC8?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwheavenlyho-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000CPZSC8

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  45. says

    Just got my first gift of vanilla beans at Christmas and can’t wait to make my own vanilla! I got a laugh out of your post ~ I don’t drink vodka and the thought of purchasing a gallon would send me over the edge!

    [Reply]

  46. Lisa says

    I was wondering if it matters what proof the vodka is. I know you said cheap was okay, but wasn’t sure of the proof. I’ve been making herbal tinctures with vodka, and I know it has to be 80 proof for those, so I thought I would check. Sounds great and I would really like to make some myself.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    As far as I know it doesn’t matter what proof it is…just go for cheap!

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    Jon Reply:

    Cheap vodka has that taste of being a rough drink. You can distill
    the vodka and it will be a better tasting vodka. Might make for a
    better tasting extract I would think.

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  47. says

    Have you figured out how this compares price-wise to commercial vanilla extract? Just curious. I am thinking it must be frugal as you seem to be =0) one of the reasons I now get your posts via email. Don’t want to miss one single tip. =0) Thanks,Kelly

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  48. says

    Now it’s been about 10-11 months since you made your vanilla – can you do a follow-up? I’ve seen other recipes that used about 9 beans per bottle (and as few as 2 vanilla beans per bottle). So is yours really strong with 80 beans in a gallon??? And how’s the supply holding up for you? And the flavor?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    That’s so funny that you would leave this comment yesterday….I JUST put up a post about vanilla. Now, it didn’t exactly answer all of your questions, but still just ironic! :)
    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/start-making-homemade-vanilla-for-christmas

    Mine is very strong with 80 beans in a gallon…but that way I don’t have to use very much at a time. I gave a lot of it away at Christmas, but I still have three or four 8 ounce bottles left that I’m using. The flavor is FABULOUS!

    [Reply]

    DorthyM Reply:

    I’m glad you mentioned that. How much do you use in standard recipes,
    like say the recipe calls for a tablespoon . When you use your vanilla how much do you use?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I probably use about half the amount a recipe calls for!

    Laura Reply:

    Can you add more vodka to last year’s beans and brew a new jar on the cheap?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, but it’s not nearly as strong.

  49. amy says

    I made some in January 09 and I’m still using it and love it. The kids always ask me “what’s this?” when they see it on the counter bc I still have it in the original bottle lol

    Making it this way pretty much insures that you will never run out. I add some to almost all baked goods because I love the flavor it gives the foods.

    Great blog Laura!!!

    [Reply]

  50. Mary says

    I must say that you just brightened my day with this post (I received the link through email.) Made me laugh AND I now know what my entired family will be getting for Christmas. And maybe my MOPS group too!! Thanks for the great info!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Ooh, what a great idea for a MOPS craft. Except for the carrying gallons of vodka into the church part!

    [Reply]

  51. says

    Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing. I am always looking for new homemade iems to add to my Christmas goodies. This I am sure will be perfect!

    [Reply]

  52. Kika says

    How many gifts did you give from one batch?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Well, I put mine into 8 ounce bottles (you could do 4 ounce if you want), so one gallon made 16 bottles. Sixteen gifts…except that I kept some for myself!

    [Reply]

  53. Anna says

    What a great idea! I’m curious though, does the vanilla turn out dark, like most store bought vanillas or is it clear so I can use it in icings?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s very dark.

    [Reply]

  54. Shannon says

    Laura, what awesome timing. I’m frugal but my husband is cheap. Let me explain. It hit 89 degrees yesterday here in Indiana. In honor of that event, we made some vanilla ice cream. Yum. We used up all our vanilla extract in the process and my husband said we should save the bottle and make our own. I thought he was crazy but threw it in the dishwasher, just in case. I guess I’ve got my first bottle! Thank you! You pressured me enough. :)

    [Reply]

  55. says

    I haven’t had much chance to make homemade ingredients before. I have a few quick questions.

    Where did you get the gallon jar (I assume it is glass with a metal lid) and where do you find little containers for it? I would really love to make a batch to give to my multitudes of family members for Christmas, but I have no clue where to get the little glass containers, or any other sort to pour it into when its all done.

    [Reply]

    Merry Jo Reply:

    We get our pickles in gallon jars (I found out they’re much cheaper that way!), so I’m going to use one of those to make some vanilla. I don’t know where else you’d get one, besides saving it from food ~ I looked for a good gallon jar for years because I like to make sun tea.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think someone gave my jar. But you can usually find them at hardware stores.

    [Reply]

    Angela Reply:

    ask on freecycle if you have one in your area

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Any restaurant usually has gallon size glass jars. They just throw them away and would be glad to save you some if asked. Also some bars that sell food would have them.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    Atwoods has a food and canning aisle and they sell all different sizes of mason jars. I was in there last week and saw that they had gallon size canning jars! Fantastic find. Now I can store my chicken stock in less than 10 leftover pasta sauce jars.

    [Reply]

  56. Sara says

    Do you have to use the Madagascar vanilla beans? I’m finding Tahitian vanilla beans are cheaper to purchase, so just wondering why you chose the Madagascar beans?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Nope, you can use Tahitian if you want. Madagascar beans just made really delicious vanilla, and that’s what was recommended to me when I was first making it. I just used those upon their recomendation.

    [Reply]

  57. blair says

    I was confused when I first read this post, then I remembered that I didn’t first read it here! I read about it at pleonast.com in the homemade group. Aparently everyone IS doing it! :-)

    [Reply]

  58. says

    This is great!! I just made my batch yesterday after you posted the “start now & be ready for Christmas” post:) Two questions:

    I halved the recipe (I hope that won’t mess up things to begin with), but does that mean mine will be ready in half the time?? Or does it still need 6 mths?

    Also – after it’s ready, how long is it good for??

    [Reply]

    Heather Reply:

    its good forever! extracts never expire. and i assume you still need 6 months for it to be good!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sorry it took me so long to reply…

    Yes it still needs six months and it will be good forever and ever!! :)

    [Reply]

    mandi@itsscome2this Reply:

    Thank you ladies!!

    [Reply]

  59. says

    So, what do you think you would package this with as a gift? I know I have 6 months to think about this yet…but I’m a planner. Bottle of beautifully labeled vanilla and?

    [Reply]

    Teri Reply:

    Rebecca, I just read you comment about making vanilla as a Christmas gift and thought I would suggest how I would package it. I would take a pretty basket (look for them at yard sales or thrift stores, line it with a piece of Christmas material or pretty kitchen towel, add one or two mixes (these could be muffin, cookie, or cake mixes) and either use cellophane bags or pretty jars to put them in, then add a spatula, spoon or other kitchen tool, add your recipe(s) and a pretty bow. These are very nice gifts, for any occasion, and your bottle of homemade vanilla would make anyone very happy. Colored sugar, sprinkles and other small baking items could also be added to your basket. Most of those items you can find at a dollar store and buy in bulk and divide into smaller containers. Also, instead of baskets, you might try to find mixing bowls at thrift stores or yard sales to use as your “container”. Hope this helps. Teri

    [Reply]

    Rebecca @themommysaver Reply:

    Thanks Teri! I could totally do that. I actually just picked up 3 cool looking baskets!

    [Reply]

    Heather T. Reply:

    Just what I need an excuse to go to garage sales, my husband will
    not be happy;}

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have Vanilla Recipe Cards in my shop (downloadable – you can print as MANY as you want once you purchase): http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=56

    These are super fun to give away with your vanilla bottles!

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    I was thinking of using the vanilla beans to make vanilla sugar after extract is done.
    I have a recipe for very vanilla snickerdoodles that is DELICIOUS – everyone has raved about them.
    I plan to package the extract, vanilla sugar & fresh baked cookies together for each person.
    (the dough can be made ahead, rolled in the vanilla cinnamon sugar, then frozen in a single layer on a cookie sheet for 30 min, then put into a gallon size freezer bag – ready to throw into the oven whenever you are!)
    Great if you just wanna make a handful for a quick freshly baked treat!

    [Reply]

  60. Tabitha says

    I make a lot of cakes and use clear vanilla. Does this come out clear?

    [Reply]

    Rebecca Reply:

    It definitely does not look clear. Mine has the normal dark vanilla color.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Nope, it is very dark. ;)

    [Reply]

  61. Andrea says

    Bourbon + madagascar vanilla beans = the closest thing to Heaven on Earth. Seriously, I swear by it!

    Although, I like a vodka vanilla with Tahitian vanilla beans. More of a perfumy flavor and scent – the vodka lacks any scent,so it lets the more flowery beans just sparkle and shine!

    I’m going to start my batch tomorrow, actually (August 1st) for Christmas gifts and to sell at Christmas time. :)

    [Reply]

  62. Stacey says

    Do you know what Vanilla Vodka would do for the recipe? Do you think it would be overkill? Can’t wait to try this. Thanks so much :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t think I’d want to use vanilla vodka for making vanilla extract. I’m not familiar with vodka much, but I would imagine that the vanilla flavor in the vodka wouldn’t be natural and would mess with the awesome flavor of your real vanilla extract. I’d want to stick with straight vodka (not a sentence that I would normally say!)

    [Reply]

  63. Sandy says

    So four months is okay? If so I’ll start mine too!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it’s okay. Six months makes it stronger, but I think you’ll be okay at four months.

    [Reply]

  64. Lisa O Shea says

    Wow this is a great idea, I’m in Canada and vanilla can be a little expensive sometimes in the stores, i am sooooo gonna try this as im forever using vanilla in my baking!Great idea!!xx

    [Reply]

  65. Charlotte Moore says

    Well, I decided I would ask my husband if he would pick me up a half gallon of vodka…. I should have waited until he was not eating to ask that I guess. He had a little trouble swallowing after that until I explained why I wanted it. We got a chuckle out of it though. He said we needed to find the vanilla beans first so we don’t have the vodka and not be able to find the beans. I would never have thought to do this. I am anxious to try it.

    [Reply]

  66. says

    my question is about the alcohol content of the vanilla. is it stronger than the stuff you buy in the store? does it taste like vodka when it is done?

    this sounds good. hubby and i were trying to figure out the cost comparison and to me it seems good. i priced the vodka today when i went to Sam’s club and a gallon would be roughly $20 so then you would have the price of the beans. would love to try this, not only for me but to give as gifts to my family (large one) and friends. only thing is i would probably have to leave the state but certainly the county to buy the vodka being a pastors wife and all. or i guess i could have one of my siblings buy it for me! lol!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It tastes like wonderful vanilla when it’s done (although I suppose if you tasted it by itself and not mixed into a recipe it would taste nasty!)!! I don’t think it tastes like vodka, although like I said, I don’t just eat it plain! It probably does have an “alcohol” type taste to it, but that’s pretty typical of all vanilla extracts. When you put it in ice cream or any other recipe, it just tastes like vanilla…SO yummy!

    [Reply]

  67. amy says

    as a missionary living in a foriegn country I discovered how to make this from a former missionary. but vanilla beans are quite expensive so we do things a bit different with the same great outcome. get a normal bottle of vodka, put in 6-10 uncut vanilla beans and let sit. (you can pop the top off the vodka to put the beans in and put it back on for easy pouring! :) I do need to start another one, I am halfway through a bottle and in about 6 months I will need it.

    [Reply]

    Barbara Reply:

    Is you bottle plastic or glass?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I put mine in glass. I like everything better in glass.

    [Reply]

    amy Reply:

    I use a glass bottle that the vodka comes in. and I reuse the vanilla beans. I have my next one being made as we speak. ;)

    the amount of vanilla that you use in insignificant as far as alcohol content and MOST commercial vanilla is also made with alcohol unless you specifically look for one without!

    [Reply]

  68. Jenn says

    I love this idea – sounds like a great economical way to keep vanilla in the house…and make some nice gifts too. Question – where do you find a gallon jar…and does it need to be glass? Also, where do you find smaller dark jars to store the vanilla in? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I had a gallon jar from I don’t know where. :) I think you can find them at hardware stores? Or online I’m sure. I get my small dark bottles here: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/where-to-get-bottles-for-homemade-vanilla

    [Reply]

  69. Ann says

    I found your website by accident and have really been enjoying it. Was a little late finding your vanilla recipe to get a full 6 months by Christmas. Got my beans today and they are now being happy with the vodka. If I bottle it in mid Dec. and put a couple of the beans in the bottle with instructions to let it sit another 2 months, would that help? Also, when the extract is done, do you just let the beans dry and use in something else (like sugar)?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sure, that would work…but I do think it will be plenty strong by December. You can put the used beans on some sugar for a few months and it will flavor the sugar…mmmm!

    [Reply]

  70. Michelle says

    I am excited to try this recipe. However, I tried to use the coupon code hhm2010 and it comes up as expired and will not apply to my purchase.

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    Yikes! I had a space before the code and it didn’t recognize the code. I tried again and it worked this time! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  71. says

    Howdy-
    I am so intrigued by this homemade vanilla but, I don’t drink alcohol. I am wondering if you strain off the vodka or blend, puree , or what? Or does the vanilla bean dissolve? Thanks for inspiring to me.

    Melissa

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I need to edit the post to explain what you do once it’s done extracting huh?! :)

    After six months, you strain out the beans and tada…you have vanilla extract! All the goodness from the vanilla beans extracts into the vodka and THAT is what makes vanilla extract. It’s such a cool process!

    [Reply]

  72. says

    Do you have to put it in dark bottles or can I just use the liquor bottle? I just didn’t know if there was a reason behind the dark bottle. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    A dark bottle is best because light effects the quality of the vanilla. You CAN put it back in the liquor bottles, I just always recommend a dark bottle for premium vanilla.

    [Reply]

  73. says

    Okay, so I was not thrilled about buying alcohol, so I did so checking and now have a gallon of (as my hubby puts it) “no-booze” vanilla extract brewing in my kitchen. It uses vegetable glycerin instead of alcohol…It’s been a few weeks, so I still have a awhile before I will know how good it turns out. Also, i would mention that if someone hasn’t gotten a jump start on the extract, that Vanilla sugar is awesome as well! The kids were able to help and it tastes completely wonderful in my coffee! They are packaging it for grandparents this year in a goodie basket. It only took about 1-2 weeks before it was just right and now it is just getting better and better!

    [Reply]

    Lissa Reply:

    I would be very interested how this comes out. What made you think of
    vegetable glycerin?

    [Reply]

    Lynda Sander Reply:

    my hubby searched out alcohol free recipes for vanilla extract. It’s technically called vanilla “flavoring” but almost all the alcohol free ones included it. I can’t wait to see if it works out well. It is supposed to do good, so now it’s just the waiting game!

    [Reply]

  74. Rhonda Hall says

    I just “made” my vanilla using rum and my friend “made” her using vodka so we can trade off and see what’s best..
    We bought our vanilla beans at Super Kroger..for about $6 for 2 beans AND save the glass jar for your vanilla..

    [Reply]

    deedee Reply:

    wow thats really expensive for vanilla beans. check out olive nation and use the coupon code newy20 for 20% off your order. vanilla beans are much cheaper online.

    [Reply]

  75. bwendy says

    WOW !!! What a neat thing to do :) Can I cut this recipe in Half ? I don’t think I would EVER go through that much vanilla . LOL

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yep, the end of the posts gives you the breakdown on how many beans you’ll need for a half gallon or quart of vanilla!

    [Reply]

  76. Kim says

    $50 on vanilla beans is a steep purchase! Is this truly economical? Could I buy half the amount, use a 1/2 gallon jar, and just reuse them as needed?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Absolutely…the end of the posts gives you the breakdown on how many beans you’ll need for a half gallon or quart of vanilla! When I did a breakdown of the cost of real vanilla extract, making it yourself cuts the cost in half!

    [Reply]

  77. Sherrill says

    I started a half gallon of vanilla back in the spring and gave 6 bottles away yesterday to my mom and sisters. It was a hit! I only wish I had made the whole recipe!

    [Reply]

  78. Pam says

    Thanks, Laura, for the instructions. I started mine in the summer with the Olive Nation Bourbon vanilla beans. I’ve started giving them as gifts this week, and friends are really excited about it. I counted 55 vanilla beans in the package I received and only paid $24 total after your 10% discount and free shipping! Add a cheap bottle of vodka and the price can’t be beat! Thank you so much for the great gift idea. (Yes, I’m keeping some for myself and look forward to using it.)

    [Reply]

  79. says

    the latest coupon code for olive nation is “newy20″ for 20% off your order :) i have some vanilla going in some recycled Grolsch bottles from August. just ordered more vanilla beans to make some more :)

    [Reply]

    Cori Walkden Reply:

    Tried this one but it has expired, thanks anyway.

    [Reply]

  80. Angie says

    I want to try this but am leery of the alcohol part. Silly question, does the alcohol evaporate or weaken as it sits?

    [Reply]

    Courtney Reply:

    The alcohol will cook out once you bake with it. However, my sister-in-law does not feel comfortable using it with her homemade ice cream, so she uses imitation vanilla for that alone. I believe it’s too small of an amount for anyone to even know it’s there either way. But do what seems most comfortable to you.

    [Reply]

  81. Melissa says

    We did this as a MOPS craft about 6 years ago. That was funny bringing that much vodka into church! I am pretty sensitive to the taste of alcohol so I don’t like to use it in anything you don’t cook/bake like ice cream or frosting.

    [Reply]

  82. nelia says

    What happens after you use the vanilla beans? just throw them out or maybe can be used to put them in your sugar jar to make sugar-vanilla which is a great thing and so expensive to buy.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, put them into a big container of sugar for a few weeks to make vanilla sugar!

    [Reply]

  83. Nina says

    I’ve made it with both bourbon and vodka and bourbon is much better. It adds a lovely depth to the food you put it in. I would never make this in a gallon container – what a waste. You should not strain the beans out. You can keep adding more vodka (or whatever alcohol you use) to make it truly economical. That’s why I make it in individual bottles to give away rather than one big bottle. You can keep adding alcohol for up to 4-6 years is what I’ve read and done without a reduction in flavor. Just put a note on it for the recipient. And vanilla vodka is fine. Most vanilla (even imitation) is made with alcohol just read the ingredients.

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    I’ve been making homemade vanilla for some time also. I “brew” my vanilla extract in gallon containers to save space since I make a lot at one time to give away as gifts, sell, etc. I couldn’t imagine having 16 oz jars sitting in my kitchen brewing vanilla! Then I put the extract and divide the vanilla beans evenly among the jars so the people I gave them to could add more alcohol and keep using their beans. From my experience, there is a slight reduction in strength when I refill my bottles, but I’ve refilled a bottle as many as four times and I still think it’s better than store bought vanilla!

    Also, my personal favorite alcohol to brew vanilla with is rum – it has such a good flavor! Although I usually make vanilla for others with vodka since I think it tastes most like what people think of as “vanilla extract”.

    [Reply]

  84. Buffie says

    coupon code has expired. :/

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm…it shouldn’t expire until June of 2011. Did you use the hhm2011 code? I just had Olive Nation update it a few weeks ago! Let me know if you still have trouble with it and I’ll see what I can do!

    [Reply]

    Christy Reply:

    It didn’t expire…we just used the code today and ordered our pound
    of vanilla beans. By the way Laura…glad to have found your website.

    [Reply]

  85. Misty Weitzel says

    Laura,
    How did you pick what kind of vanilla beans to use. There are so many different kinds, or locals they were grown, and the prices are very different.
    Thank you,
    Misty

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have ordered from several different places but found Olive Nation’s vanilla beans (linked in the post) to be the best quality. You can find some cheaper beans but they are not very good quality. The prices at olive Nation are fair and reasonable…and their quality (as well as customer service) is hard to beat!

    [Reply]

  86. Monika says

    This sounds really neat. My questions are: 1. how much did you pay for your vanilla beans (qty. you bought), and 2. how long will this homemade extract last?? Does it also taste better? I hope you can answer these and I’ll be ready to go out and make my own!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I bought 120 vanilla beans for $50 which made 1 1/2 gallons of homemade vanilla.
    This will last for years and years (as far as shelf life goes) but I usually give mine as gifts (which is why I make so much at one time). It tastes delicious and saves money too. You certainly wouldn’t have to make such a huge amount. My post explains how many beans you would need for a 1/2 gallon or for a quart of vanilla as well.

    [Reply]

  87. Lisa says

    I have heard that bourbon and rum also make good vanilla. Do you know what the deciding factors would be in choosing bourbon, rum, or vodka? If I can bring myself to buy the alcohol, I would like to try it.

    [Reply]

  88. says

    What do you do with the leftover beans after you drain it? Can you do anything else with them or do you just toss them?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Put them into some sugar for a few months and you’ll make vanilla sugar. I haven’t actually tried this before, but I’ve heard it tastes great!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    How would spiced Rum work?

    [Reply]

    Lynda Sander Reply:

    I gave vanilla sugar as gifts last Christmas (2010) and EVERYONE loves it and I still hear about it. Some use it in their coffee, others in their tea and I like to use it in my banana bread as a half of the called for sugar. I am getting ready to move away from my mom so for valentines day, I made a mini batch of vanilla sugar (a 4 cup container filled with about 4 vanilla beans and covered in sugar)so that as her supply runs low, she can just add more regular sugar to the container, shake it up and continue producing her own vanilla sugar! My Mom loved it as a gift and she is able to keep her and my grandma’s little sugar bowl filled so even she can have her favorite coffee flavoring every morning. It’s a gift that really keeps on giving.

    [Reply]

  89. Merry says

    I have always used Watkins vanilla. How does the homemade vanilla compare to Watkins?

    [Reply]

    Priscilla Reply:

    How much does the Watkins cost per ounce? Sam’s Club has Tone’s Pure Vanilla 16 oz. for $6.88

    [Reply]

    Denise Reply:

    Tone’s has corn syrup! We have corn allergies in our family….

    [Reply]

  90. Heather T. says

    so I just ordered my beans, bought the vodka, which had a $7 rebate fore two and a huge jar of pickles, um one thing how am I ever going to eat all those pickles? This is soo cool, my husband said no wonder real vanilla extract costs soo much its the alcohol. I am soo excited, its my first time making anything like this. The rebate worked well for me, I bout 1 lb. since its cheaper than 1/2 and 1/4 together. what should I use the beans for?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Do you mean, with extra beans after you make your vanilla? I’d say save them in a dry, cool (but not cold) place until you’re ready to make more vanilla or instead, use extras for vanilla sugar: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/vanilla-sugar-recipe/index.html

    I’d use sucanat instead of granulated sugar, but I’d follow the same idea as the link above.

    [Reply]

  91. Liz says

    Hi Laura… where did you find a gallon sized glass jar? I have my beans (used your coupon code, thank you very much) and I went ahead and bought my little brown bottles too. However, I can’t seem to find a gallon sized glass jar with a screw on lid. I thought maybe I’d just slip the beans into the vodka bottles, but when I checked at the store yesterday it was packaged in plastic bottles. Would plastic be okay?

    [Reply]

    Kristi Reply:

    I know I’m not Laura, but I thought I might be able to answer your question. I bought a gallon sized jar of pickles at our local store for $4. I took the pickles out and cleaned the jar. It was perfect for this!!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You should be able to find gallon sized jars at hardware stores…I have bought them through my health food co-op. And yes, the pickle jar idea is a great one!

    [Reply]

    Soccy Reply:

    Ask at your local deli or pizza shop. We get ours free from them.

    [Reply]

  92. Sara B says

    Just bought some Olive Nation vanilla beans. Looking foward to getting the process started. Thanks for all the great info Laura!

    [Reply]

  93. amy says

    has any one did the math to figure out if this is cost effective the beans are expensive so i was just wondering
    Blessings

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have found that making homemade vanilla is not only healthier (I know exactly what is in my vanill!) but cuts the cost for vanilla extract in HALF!

    [Reply]

  94. Merry says

    I guess I should have been more specific with my question. I was wondering about the taste or flavor differences between the homemade and Watkins.

    [Reply]

  95. Lena says

    I make my husbands coffee creamer homemade. I use vanilla for flavoring in it, This would help save money seeing that I use a lot of vanilla in a month. I will definetly be making this soon! Thanks Laura!

    [Reply]

    Stacey Reply:

    How do you make coffee creamer?! I would like to try this!

    [Reply]

    Lena Reply:

    It is
    1 cup of half and half or heavy cream
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 can sweetened condensed milk
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Or whichever flavor you like.
    Add all ingredients into a quart size jar and shake, shake, shake!
    Lasts two weeks in the fridge. I dought it will last that long though. I make about two jars and week.

    Enjoy!

    [Reply]

  96. Hope says

    I LOVE your mindset…I’ve been trying to figure out how I’d go buy liquor without folks in town looking down on me….I think I’ll go a few towns over.

    Great learning opportunity for the boys (one more way to reinforce why drinking alcohol is not a good vise to have).

    And for the commenter, Lena – HOW do you make your husband’s coffee creamer?

    [Reply]

  97. Mommyof4Kelleys says

    LOVE this idea! This “Southern Baptist” girl will have to direct any and ALL questions about the vodka to your website… : ) I can hear the deacons now… EEeekk!!! Seriously though – what a smart idea to have on hand for Christmas gifts!

    [Reply]

  98. Lena says

    I am having a hard time purchasing the beans. What quantity do you put in? I keep getting crazy prices. I was thinking I need a quantity of 11 to get 80 beans but the price comes up into the hundreds. Confused!!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you want 80 beans, you’ll want to click on the option of “1 pound of beans for $54.99″. That will give you a little over 80 beans. Leave the quanity as “1”, then where it gives the options for how many beans over to the right, click the arrow and it will give you a drop down menu where you’ll see the option for “1 pound of beans for $54.99″.

    Let me know if that didn’t help explain it clearly enough!

    [Reply]

    Lena Reply:

    That makes more since. Thanks a ton. I do not know why I did not see that before.

    ~Lena~

    [Reply]

  99. Sara B says

    A half batch of your homemade vanilla extract recipe is now tucked deep inside one of my kitchen cupboards. 1.75 liters of vodka and 40 vanilla beans fit perfectly inside 2 quart sized canning jars (20 beans/jar). I have my vanilla shake dates marked on my calendar and can’t wait for 4-6 months to pass! Thanks Laura!

    [Reply]

  100. Tina says

    Thanks for the source of beans! I’ve never seen them that affordable before, and the discount makes it even better. I’ve been making my own vanilla extract with this method since the early 1990s when I saw it at a county fair, and it works great. You can’t go back to the store-bought stuff. Of course, I’ve never made a whole GALLON at once. I usually make it in an old salad dressing bottle with 6-8 beans, and that amount lasts me about 3-4 months.

    Maybe I just haven’t found it yet on your blog, but do you have any suggestions for how to make your own orange or lemon extracts for baking? I’d imagine they’d be similar but I don’t have a sense of how much citrus peel I’d need, and I’ll probably collect it over a long period of time. Do you think I could just zest citrus as I bring it into the house and keeping adding to the same jar of vodka? Or do you think it would be better to dry it and do a big batch at once?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not ever tried anything like this, so I’m not sure what to advise. It sounds delicious though!

    [Reply]

    Teri Reply:

    Tina, maybe this will help. I’m not sure where I got this recipe (probably surfing the internet). :) Lemon Extract: 1/2 Cup vodka and 1 large lemon. Use a vegetable peeler to remove peel from lemon (don’t get white part). Boil lemon peel and vodka. Remove from heat. Pour into small jar. Allow to stand for 2 weeks. I’m sure this could be done with an orange also. I have not tried this but thought you may want to experiment. :) Teri

    [Reply]

    Tina Reply:

    Thanks, I’ll experiment!

    [Reply]

    Angie Reply:

    Hi Tina, I am interested to know if this worked for you?

    Tina Reply:

    This actually worked pretty well. I used limes because I had a few in the fridge. I washed them well, shaved them with a citrus zester, and packed the zest into an old spice bottle. I covered the zest with vodka and put it in the cupboard. I didn’t boil anything because I thought it would boil off the alcohol and undo what I was trying to accomplish.

    Within a couple of days the zest had visibly faded to an olive green, and the extract smelled strongly of lime. It’s become more potent with more time (probably reached its max around 2 months). The zest doesn’t seem to have changed color after the first week, but the alcohol has picked up a light olive green color.

    I haven’t tried yet, but I think I could use it in my cheesecake recipe that calls for citrus zest. And I’ll definitely try this method on oranges & lemons in the future.

    [Reply]

  101. Daphne says

    Thank you for all your helpful tips. I got my vodka yesterday and found the Vodka 360 brand. I LOVE that I can use the bottle once the vanilla is finished and it had a $5 mail-in rebate making it cheaper then some of the other brands. I was also able to get the beans at a loca spice, tea and coffee store. They were $16.25/oz. I got two oz and got 18 HUGE beans. They’re so much better then the pathetic ones they have at the grocery stores. Everything’s done and put in the back part of my pantry. I can’t wait to use it in a few months!

    [Reply]

  102. Stacey says

    Hey Laura was just wanting to double check as I thought I’d heard you say somewhere for a recipe that call for 1tsp of vanilla when using this version use 1/2tsp?!?! Maybe I am imagining things but I’m thinking I saw this somewhere :) Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Right, use at least half the amount that the recipe calls for. This makes strong vanilla!

    [Reply]

    Alana Nystrom Reply:

    So if this makes strong vanilla, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t make sense to use less beans so it’s closer to the ‘potency’ of store-bought vanilla???

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm…I guess. I never thought about that. I really long having strong flavored vanilla though!

    Alana Nystrom Reply:

    Actually, now that I think about it more, perhaps the stronger the vanilla the better so that when you use it you taste more ‘vanilla’ and less vodka!

  103. Heather says

    I went to the bottle website and saw the cobalt color. Both the amber and the cobalt have the same description….have you used those? I love love blue bottles!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    They are pretty, aren’t they? I’ve only used the dark amber.

    [Reply]

  104. Marek says

    Okay, so this may seem like a stupid question, but what’s the difference between vanilla and vanilla extract and how do you use them differently?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    When you see “vanilla” in a recipe, that usually means “vanilla extract” is to be used. However, there is this little thing you can buy at the store called “imitation vanilla” which can be used also in recipes that call for vanilla…but I don’t recommend it as it is not made with pure ingredients. So, usually…the term “vanilla” is just the short way of saying “vanilla extract”. They really are one in the same. :)

    [Reply]

  105. angie says

    I have just a couple of quick questions…Has anyone tried this with vanilla vodka, and if so what were the results? Also if the vodka comes in a glass container can’t I just put beans in on top vodka? Thanks for any input.

    [Reply]

  106. Michele Hughes says

    My husband and I are opposed to using alcohol of any kind for any reason. We order alcohol free vanilla from Puritan’s Pride. Just wondering how to use the vanilla beans without using alcohol OR sugar?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have no idea, but it would be fun to learn if you ever find a way to do this!

    [Reply]

  107. Kim says

    This might be a strange question – but what happens to the alcohol content after the 6 months? I realize that if you only use 1 tsp. in a recipe and you bake it, that the alcohol will bake out. Does the vanilla we buy at the store have alcohol in it?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    There is still alcohol after six months, and yes, that is what is in the vanilla extract you buy at the store. I never really realized that either until I learned to make it myself, but that’s what extracts are…alcohol. Our family doesn’t drink, but I am not concerned about using vanilla because we use such a tiny amount in each recipe. :)

    [Reply]

  108. Heather says

    I got my Olive Nation vanilla bean order in the mail today! Woohoo! My 8oz package of beans had approximately 70 beans in it. I made a half batch and used 2 quart jars. I’m wondering how often I should shake them up? Also, I put them up in my cabinet above my fridge because I rarely get in there and it’s where I have room. Is that an okay place for the jars to be or should I put them somewhere else dark?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d say shake the jars once every 2-3 weeks. And yes, you put them in a great spot!

    [Reply]

  109. Lorea says

    I LOVE this!!! I’m making some for christmas present this year so I think I’ll start in July. And Mountain Rose Herbs is really the best place to buy the bottles. I’ve ordered from them before and was VERY impressed. I can’t wait to order my vanilla beans too. :)

    [Reply]

  110. Angie says

    I am so excited to make this, I got my beans in the mail and an ready to get started. I had my husband get the vodka for me and he got deluted vodka, we are not drinkers so is this standered and will it work or is there un-diluted we should have gotten?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh boy, I’m not familiar enough with liquor either to really know what to tell you. It will probably be okay, your vanilla just may not be as strong as if you made it with “regular vodka”. This just means that you’d use exactly what a recipe calls for, instead of with the vanilla I make I use about 1/4 or 1/2 of what a recipe calls for.

    [Reply]

    Beth Reply:

    I’ve just ordered my beans!!! I was wondering though, does
    this mean that i half the vanilla in your recipes as well, or just
    others?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You can half it in my recipes as well. I usually type in the “regular amount called for” since not everyone is using a strong homemade vanilla.

  111. Kristine A says

    My vanilla beans arrived today! Right after dinner I combined everything and we even wrote dates on the calendar to remind ourselves to go to the scary part of the basement (it’s dark and out of the way) and shake the jar once in a while. I’m very excited to give homemade vanilla away at Christmas for gifts! LOVE IT!!! Thanks for the wonderful idea and recipe!

    [Reply]

  112. Abbey says

    Do you think I can store this in the plastic bottle that the vodka came in or do you make sure you seal the jar?

    I might have to go get pickles but I have a fear of having a “pickly” tasting vanilla :)!

    [Reply]

    Abbey Reply:

    I just divided up into my wide mouth canning jars. Cant wait to be able to use it!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, your wide mouth jars should work well. The vodka bottle would have worked okay too, but it’s much harder to fit all the vanilla beans into that bottle!

    [Reply]

  113. Teresa says

    Have you ever added water to the vanilla? The extract I have left from the store says it contains water and alcohol.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    No, I don’t ever add water. I like that this vanilla is super stong and flavorful!

    [Reply]

  114. Angela says

    Just a quick question…I used some of my homemade vanilla the other day when I made our oatmeal…I like to put vanilla extract and cinnamon in when cooking the oatmeal. I could really feel/taste the burn of the alcohol when we were eating the oatmeal. Does this mean my vanilla isn’t quite done (perhaps I should have used more beans in my brew??) or should it really just be used in baked goods only?? Any suggestions would be helpful!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would imagine it’s just that this homemade vanilla is so much stronger than regular, so for a bowl of oatmeal, you’d need just a teeny tiny drop. :)

    [Reply]

  115. Sally Lehman says

    Laura, there are several kinds of beans, which do you suggest?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I prefer the Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans through Olive Nation. They’re great!

    [Reply]

  116. says

    I would much rather have alcohol in my diet then propylene glycol that seems to be in most of the flavorings now and is suppose to be so harmful to our health. Thank you for the recipe. Being afraid of someone seeing you buy alcohol is what the bible refers to as ” the fear of man” so not something we should do or need to fret about. Teaching children responsible use is best I think. I think the way it is done in Europe is far better and creates less problems with its use. Children are taught from a young age to be very responsible with alcohol. I was told by well meaning folks that the bible teaching drinking is wrong but it is drunkeness that is the sin. I wanted to know for myself and took each word of wine used in the bible and took it back to the orginal greek and hebrew. When they translated the KJV bible they used the word “wine” for grape juice, new wine, old wine, fermented wine, unfermented wine etc. Jesus did turn the water into fermented alcoholic wine. I think moderation is what the Lord was trying to teach us. But there are many reasons why someone may choose to stay away from it. Each family has to decide before God what is best for them.

    [Reply]

  117. says

    This is awesome! I’m definitely going to make my own. I’ve been getting my vanilla from Costco and I just noticed that the brand changed their recipe – they add sugar now. They never used to.

    One question – Have you ever used rum? I think the flavor would be much richer, but I’m not sure if it would work as well as vodka? Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Jessica

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not used rum, but I would imagine that it would work. I am clueless when it comes to liquor, so I’m probably not the person to ask!! :)

    [Reply]

  118. tracey says

    If the alcohol is a problem, why not use organic vanilla bean powder. Make sure it’s brown (notprocessed/bleached white). You can use it right away(no, waiting months). No uncomfortable check-out store visits :)

    [Reply]

  119. Margaret says

    Vanilla beans arrived today. Hubby went with me to buy the vodka. We had an old pickle jar that we had pennies in. I washed it well. Now it is in a dark corner of the pantry. Now we wait.

    [Reply]

  120. Dawn A says

    Hello and thank you very much for this exciting idea. I am going to try too, and I just ordered my beans.
    I have one question. I read in the comment section about the person who used too much of the extract in her oatmeal.
    I am wondering how much extract to use when following typical recipes, as it seems this is significantly stronger extract. Is there a conversion you use?
    Thank you very much,
    Dawn

    [Reply]

    Katie Manyoky Reply:

    I have been using Vanilla from Mexico for years and it is very strong. The general rule of thumb with it is to use half the amount called for in cooked recipes. I hope this helps!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I usually use at least half the amount a recipe calls for, if not even less!

    [Reply]

  121. says

    This would explain why my mom (when we lived in TX) had to go into a liquor store in Mexico when she wanted to buy real vanilla and not the fake stuff from the store. :O)

    I’m looking forward to trying it myself. It would be a great “Thanksgiving Day Present” for those who do a lot of baking over the holidays!

    [Reply]

  122. Tammy says

    I tried using your discount code and it won’t take it…is it expired, and if so will there be another code?? This is the cheapest I found for the beans. My local store wants over $160 for exactly 80 beans.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm, not sure what could be going wrong. I just tried out the code and it worked for me: hhm2011 Is that the code you’re using?

    [Reply]

  123. says

    I am so excited about this. I just ordered my vanilla beans and can’t wait to get started…I always wanted to make my very own vanilla extract..thanks for this post..and all the recipes and info… :-)

    [Reply]

  124. Kellie says

    What size amber bottles work best for the vanilla extract?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Any size will work – I like 2, 4 or 8 ounce bottles.

    [Reply]

  125. Steph says

    Do you think a half pound would be 40 beans? I’m going to try the half gallon. Thanks for your help. I’m really excited to do this :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I’d get about a half pound if you want to make a half gallon. Fun!

    [Reply]

  126. Christina says

    Laura, I thought that I had seen you mention the bottle labels somewhere. Mind if I ask where you got them, or did you just print them up yourself at home? I have two quart sized jars of vanilla in the making and I would like to have labels for them when they are done. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s where I ordered my labels – she’s a friend of mine and she’ll custom design anything you want! http://www.etsy.com/shop/delightdesignbiz

    [Reply]

  127. Heather T. says

    My extract is done just waiting for the bottles, they are to arrive on Monday, can’t wait, hope I don’t spill it all! It smells so good just on the outside of the bottle.

    [Reply]

  128. Angelia says

    Are the vanilla beans from Olive Nation organic?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s my weird answer to that question: They aren’t “certified organic” BUT, my husband has done quite a bit of research on vanilla beans and it seems that vanilla beans only grown in countries where they do NOT allow pesticide use. So yes, I feel that these are organic. I’ll have to pick Matt’s brain to learn more about this to write it on my blog sometime!

    [Reply]

  129. Sami says

    I realize you’re very busy this week, but I have my 1 lb of vanilla beans (wow!) and I’m having the worst time finding a gallon glass jug. Apparently I need to start buying honey in bulk? :) But I was wondering if it would work to buy “the good stuff” in glass bottles and put the beans directly in the vodka bottles.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, that would work just fine. You can actually use plastic bottles if you want – I just prefer glass so that the plastic taste won’t leach into the vanilla.

    [Reply]

    Sami Reply:

    Thanks, Laura. I feel the same way about plastic. Here we go! :)

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Sami, to find a glass jar, just go to some of your local restaurants and bars. They use jars of banana peppers and relish and other things. just ask them if they have any and if they would save you one. As for putting the beans right in the vodka bottles, remember that you will not be able to get them out of the bottle in the end and they work great for flavoring sugar when done.

    [Reply]

  130. Heather T. says

    my bottles arrived and are soo pretty, now to find the time to fill them. I did order a blue one for myself, just for fun, its a great color. I ordered from Specialty bottles everything arrived perfectly.

    [Reply]

  131. Sarah says

    Just finished my first batch of vanilla and it is not as dark looking as your picture. How dark should it be? Mine has sat for 6 months now. Thanks!!!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Maybe my picture just looks dark. :) I’m sure yours is fine. My finished product is dark, but still see through.

    [Reply]

  132. Kimberly Rupert says

    Thank you for the post & especially where you purchase the beans (which was my biggest worry).

    Do the amber bottles have to be glass?

    Thanks!
    Kim

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Glass really is best, for a more pure tasting vanilla. Otherwise, the plastic leaches into the vanilla, changing the flavor.

    [Reply]

  133. Lori says

    Hi Laura…I just purchased and downloaded the vanilla recipe cards and can’t get them to print. Am I suppose to be able to print them? Thanks for the recipe…ordered the vanilla beans…just in time for Christmas gifts!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    They are jpgs and are printable. I usually upload mine to Walgreens or Walmart and have them print them for me there as 4×6 cards (pictures).

    [Reply]

  134. says

    I make my own vanilla, too, only I use rum instead of vodka. I notice you posted about selling yours on your site. Do you have to have a license or approval for that since it’s food? Or could I just stick it on my blog and sell it?

    I love your site! It’s so helpful about so many things!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    We don’t have a license, since we’re doing it on small scale.

    [Reply]

  135. geet says

    hi dear laura, i just love vanilla n the thought of making my own is mind blowin! only,my family is really small,just 4 of us, so ur quart recipe,the smallest amount possible made me purr!6months is soooooooooooo far away!also, i already bought some vanilla beans at my local store, but im not sure if the quality is really worth the price or not, but do u think it will really make a huge difference?should i wait to buy really good quality beans or will the end result be ok?lol,am a novice, so pl bear if u find my requests juvenile!ur doing a truly great job n i soo love ur blog!ur cleaver writings are enough to tempt a person like me to cook, n that,girl,is saying a lot!thanks in advance n best regards,

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d say use the ones you bought first, they will surely be fine!

    [Reply]

  136. Monica says

    I bought enough beans to make 1/2 gallon of vanilla. Can I put it in a gallon jar or do I need a smaller jar? Any idea where I can find a 1/2 gallon jar?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    A half gallon jar would be perfect – I have purchased mine through Azure Standard, although I’ve also seen them at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000BYE26?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwheavenlyho-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0000BYE26

    [Reply]

    Barbara aka jordansgrandma Reply:

    Monica says:

    July 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I bought enough beans to make 1/2 gallon of vanilla. Can I put it in a
    gallon jar or do I need a smaller jar? Any idea where I can find a
    1/2 gallon jar?

    I know this quite a few months after Monica asked this question,
    but I thought I would let everyone here know that you can get
    1/2 gal jars and other sizes from your local Ace Hardware store.

    The 1/2 gallon jars are 11.99 for a box of 6. If you have them
    order them and send them to the store there is no shipping
    charges. I have ordered twice from them and just go into the
    store and pick them up.

    [Reply]

  137. says

    Oh man, I chuckled while reading this! I have been wanting to make vanilla for forever. In our state we can’t get alcohol at the WalMarts, so that means I have to send my Hubby to the liquor store. Considering they won’t let me take my kids in there. The nerve! Oh, and also, I can’t leave my kids in the running vehicle while I run in the store. The nerve! ;) Wish I would have started this sooner, it would have made great Christmas presents!!!

    [Reply]

  138. Tishia says

    Greetings from Kenya! I started a personal batch of vanilla extract back in April. After viewing your site I took a road trip last month to a neighboring country to purchase vanilla beans. I’ve just finished two batches comparing different vodkas. Also met with farmers who grow vanilla beans and saw them still on the vine. I will be back for harvest time! Please share the sticker information (again). I am having trouble finding the seller on etsy.com. Thinking of selling 2 & 4 oz bottles at local farmer’s markets here.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Wow, I’m jealous of your vanilla bean farmers!!! Here’s the link for where to purchase the labels: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/vanilla-stickers

    [Reply]

    Linda Heitman Reply:

    I am curious to know if the different qualities of vodkas give different
    qualities of vanilla. Also, how do you seal the bottles for sale?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    The cheap vodka will work out just fine. The seals Laura buys are from sksbottles.com

    [Reply]

  139. Lauren says

    Could I make some now and still have it ready for Christmas gifts?? I know we’re just under 5 months away rather than 6… Is it too late?

    [Reply]

    Lauren Reply:

    Or could I just make the vanilla in very small jars and give them with instructions to let them sit for a month more???

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You’d be just fine to start now. Even if your vanilla just has 4 months, it will be okay! (Six months just makes it a little stronger.)

    [Reply]

    Challenge Reply:

    When you give vanilla to your crafty friends/family as a gift: you can even leave a cut vanilla bean in the amber bottle and tell them to add vodka to it when they have used 1/4 of the vanilla! Also, they can appparently store that vodka in the freezer almost indefinitely. Of course, this has the vanilla beans in it & won’t be something you tell all your people that you give gifts to. Just aextra tip :)

    [Reply]

  140. Amanda says

    Do you know of any way to seal the bottles? I would love to make my own vanilla (since I use so much of it!), but we move frequently, and the movers don’t allow open containers of liquid. :\

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I buy plastic seals from SKS bottles that work great!

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Link? I’m having a hard time finding it.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s what I use: http://www.sks-bottle.com/340c/fin6484.html

  141. Raynea says

    I made my first batch of vanilla today! Yeah! I had a few extra vanilla beans left over can I ask what you did with your extra ones? Did you just put the extras in the jar? Thanks so much for all you do.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, if I only have a few extra, I put them into the jar. If I have a lot extra, I make another smaller jar of vanilla!

    [Reply]

  142. says

    it is mid august…am I too late for christmas this year?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Naw, you’re not too late. Six months is best but even four or five months will produce a really good vanilla!

    [Reply]

  143. Kimberly Rupert says

    Started my vanilla last night! So excited! My son (3 y.o.) says it looks like there are spiders in the bottle.

    [Reply]

  144. says

    Big ol’ apologies if you’ve already answered this question and I missed it somewhere…but on the Olive Nation site it shows the vanilla beans in pounds…not per bean (for over 16 beans). How much poundage for a gallon of vodka?

    Thank ya!

    And thanks for the great idea…I can’t wait to shock my family and friends with the fact that I bought vodka. :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You need 3/4 pound for 80 beans (which makes one gallon). I usually buy one pound and make a little extra with the extra beans!

    [Reply]

  145. amy says

    how many bottles did you fill from a gallon? and what size bottles??? i am thinking of using 4oz.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have done a variety of 2 oz, 4 oz and 8 oz, with 4 oz being my favorite. The size of bottles you choose with make the number of bottles needed vary, but one gallon is 128 ounces, so you can just divide using that number to figure out what you need!

    [Reply]

  146. Lisa says

    If I use vodka for this, does it have to be “plain” vodka, or do you think I could use one of the flavored vodkas….for example, the whipped vodka?

    This is a great idea!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I am really clueless when it comes to liquor. I’d stick with plain vodka – I’m not sure how the others would work!

    [Reply]

  147. Lena Courbron says

    YAY!!!!! Got my vanilla beans in today. I knew I should have bought that bottle of vodka yesterday. So excited to get my vanilla extract started!!!

    [Reply]

  148. Ana says

    Hello, I’m very excited to try making my own vanilla but was wondering if I would be able to use rum instead of vodka? I was able to get some at 50 cents a 750ml bottle but now I don’t know what to use the rum in, as we aren’t much of the drinking type so this would be perfect! If anyone has tried this, I’d love to know. Thanks :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think so but I’m actually not sure. (I’m totally ignorant when it comes to liquor.) :)

    [Reply]

  149. Heather says

    This is a great idea since I do so much baking. I’m ready to start making this! Thanks for all your great ideas, Laura.

    [Reply]

  150. Andrea says

    i would love to try these. i do a lot of baking and this would complement those dishes so well. thank you Laura for having such a giving heart.

    [Reply]

  151. Denise Fedor says

    I would love to make my own Vanilla extract. Can not afford the beans or the vodka without any income. (Hubs had bad stroke and needs 24 hr care. Maybe someday.

    [Reply]

  152. Lena Courbron says

    Just started mine today!!!! Can’t wait to try it and to give some to my family when I go down south for the holidays!!

    [Reply]

  153. judy says

    I am making my first batch have told friends about it and they are anxiously awaiting for my results to show up in their christmas basket.

    [Reply]

  154. Judy says

    I have never made vanilla but it sure sounds good! I am going to try it, if it turns out well, I will give some for birthday gifts!

    [Reply]

  155. Cheryl says

    Just ordered 1/2 lb of beans. How much vodka should I use for that much. Would a gallon be too weak?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d use 3/4 gallon of vodka for 1/2 pound of beans. A gallon would still work okay if you choose to do that, it just wouldn’t be quite as strong.

    [Reply]

  156. Vanessa says

    Why can’t we just put the vanilla beans in the vodka bottle?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    The vodka I get is in plastic bottles and I prefer glass when I make vanilla. If you can fit your beans into the vodka bottle though and you prefer this, go for it! It would certainly work!

    [Reply]

    Vanessa Reply:

    Mine came in a glass bottle, I just dumped about 2 Tbps of it out and the beans fit just fine. thanks!

    [Reply]

  157. L O says

    I have heard that homemade vanilla extract does not taste very good in uncooked items. Has anyone tried this?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use it in unbaked items all the time (ice cream, smoothies, milkshakes) and it’s great!

    [Reply]

  158. CAROL KING says

    Do you also use the seeds from the vanilla beans or pitch them? I can’t seem to find that answer anywhere. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I leave them in with the vodka while making vanilla.

    [Reply]

  159. Washington Mom says

    Thanks so much for the link on the vanilla beans! I just ordered mine and am so excited to provide another homemade staple for my family!! Sure appreciate all helpful advice!!

    [Reply]

  160. says

    After letting the vanilla sit for 6 months, when I need to replenish the vodka, is it necessary to let it sit again? Would I be able to continue using it if I had added vodka?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It would be best to let it sit again after adding more vodka, and since the beans have been used, the vanilla won’t be as strong. I recommend using adding less vodka the second time around so the beans can be more concentrated.

    [Reply]

  161. dotty says

    If the vodka bottle is plastic is that okay. I did everything that was specified. I am almost ready to pour into smaller bottles. Is it okay if the bottles are clear or do they have to colored glasses or should i put them in holders

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I prefer dark, glass bottles, but having clear plastic bottles works too. Dark glass works better to keep the sunlight out of the container, helping the vanilla maintain it’s integrity. If you’ve got your vanilla in clear containers, just be sure to store it in a dark place!

    [Reply]

  162. says

    I would like to dilute my vanilla to be comparable to recipe quantities. What do
    I use to dilute, water? You said this recipe was concentrated and use only half, so if I
    added 50% water to the finished product before
    bottling would that be equal to recipe strength?
    Does diluting affect the keeping quality?

    One more thing…when the vanilla is steeping in the dark, is there a specific temperature requirement? Thank you!!

    [Reply]

  163. says

    Instead of putting all the beans in a gallon jar and soaking the beans, can I put a handful of beans in individual pint jars, fill them with vodka and soak them in there. They will then be ready for gift giving. If so, how many beans do you all suggest to put in each pint jar? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, this would work. You’d want 10 beans in each pint jar.

    [Reply]

  164. Teri says

    Hi Laura,
    I have a couple of batches of vanilla ready to bottle. I have the bottles and labels made, do I need to go to a FDA regulated kitchen to bottle it, or can I just bottle it in my kitchen? I was wanting to sell them at the craft fairs during the Christmas season, I would greatly appreciate any feedback. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think that depends on the regulations at your craft fair, but since we do this on a small scale, we just do this in our own kitchen.

    [Reply]

  165. says

    I would like to dilute my vanilla to be comparable to recipe quantities. What do
    I use to dilute, water? You said this recipe was concentrated and use only half, so if I
    added 50% water to the finished product before
    bottling would that be equal to recipe strength?
    Does diluting affect the keeping quality?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    In order to dilute it, just use fewer vanilla beans. It shouldn’t affect the keeping quality. you should be able to keep it at room temp.

    [Reply]

    Linda Heitman Reply:

    Sorry for being a pest, but how many fewer beans? I just received
    my beans yesterday and bought the vodka and some half gallon jars.
    Thanks for your help!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d probably go with 50 vanilla beans per gallon of vodka for a diluted version – just a guess though!

  166. Heather says

    How do you transfer the vanilla into the smaller bottles? Do you use a dropper of some kind? I’m at the stage where I need to do this so was curious. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    using a funnel would work out well. Or if you want accurate measuring, first pour it into a liquid measuring cup then pour it into a smaller bottle.

    [Reply]

  167. Peggy James says

    I just came upon your page because I was looking to see if there were any drink recipes for using vanilla in, because I am making my own vanilla, and figured since it was vodka, there might be something interesting to find… but I find that I’m a little confused. I was taught to put 6 vanilla beans in a quart of vodka and it would take about a month, shaking the bottle every day. Now I’m concerned that I didn’t use enough vanilla beans. It has only been about a week and the bottle is already a nice amber color. The recipe I was following also said you could reuse the beans, if you kept about a 1/5 of the extract and poured more vodka in the bottle. Do you know anything about this? What are your thoughts. Maybe I should buy more beans?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m sure the method you’re using is fine. This method described is a slower method which produces a super strong vanilla. Go ahead with the way you’re doing it, it should be great!

    [Reply]

  168. Julia says

    My vanilla has been sitting 5 months and I tried to make some frosting with it. The frosting tasted like vodka and not like vanilla. What should I do now?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you still have your vanilla beans, I’d say shake the vodka and vanilla beans together well everyday for the next month to help the beans to extract better.

    [Reply]

  169. Michelle H says

    My vanilla has been sitting for 5 months and it’s fabulous! We made tapioca pudding with it today and more than doubled the vanilla extract that the recipe called for just to try it out. No alcohol taste in the pudding, but good vanilla flavor. With that said, my family and I tasted the extract straight. Yes, there is a heavy alcohol taste. Then we tasted the extract that I had in my pantry from the store and it had a strong alcohol taste too. Thanks for the recipe. Any suggestions of where to get 2oz bottles.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s a post with links and explanations for where to get bottles: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/where-to-get-bottles-for-homemade-vanilla

    [Reply]

  170. says

    Hi Laura,

    I sure hope you aren’t completely weary of vanilla comments/questions…because I have yet another one for you. :) I bottled up my first batch of vanilla and it was a huge success! But I didn’t have the heart to throw away all these beans that still seem so fragrant and delicious. It seems like you suggested drying them out to use in sugar (right?), which I might do. But I also wondered if you think it would be okay to squeeze a little more life out of them by keeping them in my next batch of vanilla (adding new beans too)…and maybe just adding extra vodka? I guess my biggest concern is that I didn’t know if the beans eventually turn bitter or anything like that?

    I hope that makes sense! Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

    Tanya Reply:

    I was wondering the same thing. I just read this on Olive Nation’s website: “Both bean and seeds can be recycled for another sweet treat: Rinse and dry after using a few times and bury vanilla beans in 1-2 cups of granulated or confectioner’s sugar and cover.” That sounds like we can use the same beans again to make more vanilla extract.

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:

    That’s great info, Tanya! Thank you!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    It should be fine to reuse the beans. Just double the amount of beans
    in the same amount of vodka as the original recipe…hope that makes
    sense. :)

    [Reply]

  171. Jennifer says

    Do you use the same amount of vanilla in your recipes or do you use half the amount since it maybe a little stronger than store bought?

    [Reply]

  172. Kimberley Blair says

    Laura- or anyone who may know, I buy Mexican vanilla some times (live in the south- so its much cheaper & stronger than store bought) It says on the bottle- “mexican burbon” I am wondering if you can make the HOMEMADE VANILLA from burbon rather than vodka? & what the difference in tasted would be if any? Anyone know or have tried this? Thanks Bunches!!!

    [Reply]

    Lori G Reply:

    You can use bourbon in place of vodka….a little difference in the
    final flavor. Google “homemade bourbon vanilla”…

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    You can use rum too, but again it will taste a little different.

    [Reply]

  173. Elise says

    in the pic, you’re combining the liquor and beans in a glass jar-does it need to be glass or can we just use the plastic bottle the vodka came in? thanks!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You can use the bottles the vodka comes in. Laura jut prefers her jars! :)

    [Reply]

  174. Dave says

    Laura:

    My vanilla project is developing a cream like substance…is this the alcohol reacting with the moisture in the beans? since Grade A beans have a higher moisture content than Grade B.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yikes, maybe but I’m not sure. Sounds like it might be time to go ahead and strain out the beans and bottle your vanilla.

    [Reply]

    Stacey Reply:

    Dave, does it look like white bits floating around when you shake the jar?

    [Reply]

    DAve Reply:

    No, it is a creamy type substance that forms on the top. After a good shaking it is dispearsed in the alcohol and then over a period of time slowly re-accumulates on the top.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    Maybe this will help:
    http://www.olivenation.com/What-is-that-white-frosting-on-the-vanilla-bean-W341.aspx

    [Reply]

  175. Heidi says

    Hello Laura, thanks so much for this very easy idea that makes me feel like superwoman! (Sad, I know. I’ll raise my standards later. For now, I’m enjoying superwoman status). :-)

    I have a question, I saw other recipes that call for many fewer beans with the same proof alcohol that have gotten great reviews. I tasted a friend’s that use one bean for half gallon of vodka. ONE BEAN! It was not as strong as store bought, but it tasted vanilla-ish. One bean to 40 beans is quite a jump, though and I was wondering what you thought about that.

    Have you tried other amounts of vanilla bean or do you know others that have and if so, what was the result? I can’t get this wrong, my superwoman-ness depends on it.

    Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Fewer beans will work. It is usually double or triple strength.

    [Reply]

    ann Reply:

    from the reading i’ve been doing (lots since i like getting things right the first time), fda standards are 13.35oz if vanilla bean to 1 gallon of 35% alcohol. that is for single strength vanilla. so, 80 beans would be just about right for that (maybe even a bit shy). the fda does not say anything about the quality of the beans being used (possibly explaining the vast difference in all single strength vanillas). i just ordered my beans today, so i am looking forward to a new experiment next week!!

    [Reply]

  176. Susan Slocter says

    Ordering vanilla beans thru Olive Nation, said discount code expired. Do you have a newer one? Can’t wait to make my vanilla!
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Thank you so much for pointing that out! I’ve contacted Olive Nation and they fixed the glitch, so the code should be working fine now. :)

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    I just purchased a pound of vanilla beans at OliveNation with coupon
    code 202012 and with the free ground shipping my total was $44 for $55….

    [Reply]

  177. martine says

    Is your vodka gluten free ?

    Don’t you need organic vanilla beans ?

    What is the difference between Madagascar and tahitian vanilla beans

    Thans

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    Mountain Rose Herbs has free trade organic vanilla beans.
    The price is comparable to Olive Nation (but no discount.)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    My husband has researched vanilla beans and apparently all vanilla beans are organic, whether labeled that or not – just because of the way they are grown. Here’s an article from Olive Nation about madagascar beans: http://www.olivenation.com/Vanilla-beans-from-Madagascar-W416.aspx

    [Reply]

  178. Kristin says

    I too would like to know the approximate cost per bottle (please include # oz per bottle). I can get 8 oz bottles of Neilsen-Massey, the gold standard of store bought vanilla, (yes, I am a vanilla snob:) for a decent price at my local whole foods. Just want to make sure it’s cost effective to buy the supplies to make a small batch, say a year’s worth. According to a sales clerk at Penzy’s, vanilla is good for 5 years, but then I’d have to find a place to store it. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    At one point when I figured it, my cost was about 42 cents per ounce, not including bottles, etc.

    [Reply]

  179. cheryl says

    I was curious why you chose mountainroseherb.com for your bottles, they seem to be the most expensive. I was looking at specialtybottles or SKSbottle.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Typically, as we’ve added in shipping costs at each of those three sites, they all end up being about the same price. We’ve enjoyed doing business with Mountain Rose Herbs for other items, so we’ve just stuck with them since their price was basically the same as the others.

    [Reply]

  180. Kim says

    I just did the math 6.7625 per 8oz. of vanilla. I invluded you cost per ounce, the price of the eight ounce bottles and ground shipping. In my experience that is a whole lot cheaper than store bought. I don’t think I’ll make this investment right now though because my mother went to the Christmas Tree Shop and got 8oz. of pure vanilla extract for $3.49!!! I’ve used McCormick all of my life and this “off” brand works just as great! The math is here though for anyone else who was wondering. I used the website ou provided for bottles to calculate my costs. :)

    [Reply]

  181. Leah says

    Does anyone know if excess vanilla beans can be refrigerated or frozen for longer storage life?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It is best to keep the vanilla beans at room temp for best quality.

    [Reply]

  182. cheryl says

    Hi there, I was wondering how well you strain your vanilla when it is time to sell your stock. I have tried to strain it through a fine mesh paint strainer from work and I still get some sentiment. Is that ok or should it still be strained better through a cloth?
    Also after about 7 months and using some of the vanilla out of the gallon, can I add more vodka to it without ruining it–how much and how long do I let it sit again. The beans are still in the jar.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    A little bit of sediment is fine. You could also try adding a little bit
    more vodka without it hurting. As far as how much and how long to let it
    sit, I am unsure. You probably just need to do a trial and see how it goes! :) good luck!

    [Reply]

  183. Andrea D. says

    I read that you should add some water to the vodka so the beans don’t dry out. Is this a problem?? I want to make a quart and keep it for a couple years. Would I have a problem with it drying out or should I keep a bean in the bottle??

    [Reply]

    ann Reply:

    don’t dilute your vodka (or other alcohol) below 35%. you need that to do the extraction. i think you may have been reading about people using pure grain alcohol like everclear (up to 190 proof or 95%).

    [Reply]

    Andrea D. Reply:

    Thanks for your advice. I just ordered my beans and cannot wait until
    they come. Thanks for your help.

    [Reply]

  184. says

    Ok, so do you think it matters what kind of vodka you buy? Like does the cheap kind taste worse or do you think the cheap kind is ok because it extracts from vanilla beans?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    We usually just buy the cheap vodka, the goodness comes from the great quality beans!

    [Reply]

    Lynda Reply:

    Olive Nation uses 40% alcohol content but doesn’t state what type of alcohol they used.

    [Reply]

  185. Brittany Farabee says

    I am making some vanilla myself which I am so excited about! It has been sitting for about a month and i have noticed what looks like oil floating in it. Is that normal and should I strain it out with something or should I just leave it?
    Thanks for any reply!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It should be fine. You can just leave it as is, giving it a nice shake every few weeks. :)

    [Reply]

    Brittany Farabee Reply:

    Is it normal? I guess the beans do have a certain amount of oil to
    them?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Normal, yes. Ours typically can look like this as well and we’ve never had trouble with it.

  186. says

    Just wanted to say that when I was looking at prices, it cheaper to buy 2 half pounds equaling $54. Instead of one pound for $54.99. Every 99 cents counts, right?! Then add the discount and free shipping, gets better all the time.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    Or 1/4 and 1/2# for $42.90 before discount :)

    I’m cheap what can I say?

    [Reply]

  187. V says

    Thanks for the instructions and pictures. I’ve been inspired to make a batch that will hopefully be ready in time for Christmas! The cost of shipping to Canada from Olive Nation was a bit prohibitive, but I found the Vanilla Food Company http://www.vanillafoodcompany.ca has similarly priced vanilla beans and $7 flat rate shipping to Canada, in case any other Canadians are looking to source some good vanilla beans. I even splurged and went for the organic bourbon vanilla beans from Uganda! Now if only I could pop over to the US to buy some cheaper vodka!!

    [Reply]

  188. DanielleG says

    I was wondering if you could use a plastic gallon jug instead of glass? I have some I’d like to repurpose for this. :)

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    I wouldn’t use plastic. My vanilla sits in it for several months and that’s quite a while for plastic to leach into your vanilla. I don’t store food in plastic if I can avoid it. I got a glass bottle from Walmart and it’s not a dark color but it sits in the back of the pantry in the dark and has worked great. I’ve been making vanilla for about a year and it is so much fun and delicious!!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura prefers glass.

    [Reply]

  189. Sarah Hereth says

    I accidentally used Tahitian vanilla in my vodka and only now have read that it’s the wrong one. Should I get Madacascar beans and pour the same vodka over those and use the tahitian ones for perfume or something since the vodka cost as much as the vanilla? Or just use a more floral vanilla extract in baking, since Tahitian is supposed to be more floral? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh boy, I really don’t have any experience with using anything but vodka for this, so I hesitate to offer advise knowing I’m likely to be wrong!

    [Reply]

  190. Lynda says

    Olive Nation states: “The higher the alcohol content of vanilla, the better the quality and ours is 40% alcohol.” I ordered some vanilla beans from Olive Nation & can’t wait to try my vanilla! I will be using it for Christmas gifts as well.

    [Reply]

  191. Brook says

    Try makeing a pure vanilla powder from dehydrated vanilla bean. Grind it up and use only a eighth the amount you would in a normal recipe. No alchohol needed… twice the flavor and you can pre add it to mixes :). Google it for specifics

    [Reply]

  192. Karen Dee says

    I am excited about my vanilla. Should be ready in August or Sept, I wrote on my calendar. Can’t wait to try it, Laura. AND, I did bury my extra couple of beans in some sucanut and can I ever taste the vanilla in everything I use it in. WOnderful!

    [Reply]

  193. Erin says

    I’ve made a lot of vanilla and have been using the same beans. When do I need to replace the beans? I have been using half madagascar beans and half Mexican which I like this combination. They seem to still be working. But, I have thought about buying some more beans to keep it strong.

    [Reply]

  194. Christina D says

    Do I need to boil the jar that I’m using before I add the beans and vodka? Wasn’t sure if I had to treat the jar as if was canning, or not.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    No, you shouldn’t need to. :)

    [Reply]

  195. Brandi gonzalez says

    I was curious on how you think it would taste to use flavored vodka like say orange vodka. And also how many vanilla beans would you need to use if you use the miniature bottles of vodka. I am opening a cake business and I think that the flavored vodka would be perfect and want to make a bunch of different flavors

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I really have no idea on this one. I’m unfamiliar with liquor in general and have only ever used regular vodka to make regular vanilla. Regarding the miniature bottles, I’m not sure how many ounces those are. Since I use 20 beans per quart of vokda (32 ounces), I guess you could look at the small bottles and divide it from there? Your cake business sounds fun!

    [Reply]

  196. says

    This is a little off the extract question, but I’ve been wanting to make my own vanilla, basically like essential oil, but to use a concentrated quality vanilla in my coconut soap shampoo, body lotion, lip gloss, as well as in the bath, in beverages like my coffee with raw milk cream, and whip cream, etc. Any recipes/techniques/ideas how to take advantage of these great beans and use them naturally in the applications I mentioned?

    Thanks for this extract recipe and all your great information!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I think to use it in beauty products it should be an essential oil, which is not the same as vanilla extract. I have used vanilla extract to keep gnats away though…
    Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

    [Reply]

  197. Katie says

    How much do you sell an 8 ou bottle for on your site?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    $27. We’ll have more available hopefully in November or December. :)

    [Reply]

  198. Becky Henn says

    Hi Laura, My vanilla beans have soaked in the vodka now for a year, it is super smooth and wonderful. I bought brown 4 oz bottles and I’m now ready to actually bottle.
    I have been using it out of my gallon jug and while I don’t mind the vanilla specks, is it best to strain it off? Would it hurt to bottle it with the vanilla seeds just removing the pods?
    The vanilla I use to buy, from Penzey’s Spices, has a vanilla bean in each bottle, I also thought I would do that. Have you done that? Do you think that is ok to do?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You don’t need to strain it. You can if you want, but it’s not
    necessary. Trying any of your ideas should be fine! :)

    [Reply]

  199. says

    HAHA! I had to laugh at your wal-mart experience! I am making this for christmas this year, and I have yet to buy the vodka. I’m sure my experience will be similar, I’m a substance abuse prevention specialist….I’m known to many students in the area as “the drug lady”. Or if they are underage and got caught “the fun-hater” I also work with businesses who sell alcohol, so I’m sure I will get a few “looks” as well :)

    [Reply]

  200. Elizabeth says

    What is the shelf life once the process is complete and the vanilla is ready to be used?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Once you’ve made your vanilla, it will last for YEARS on the shelf and be just fine!

    [Reply]

  201. Cheryl says

    I am now bottling up mine after it has been sitting for 8 months (though I’ve been dipping from it for a while). I scraped the seeds off and put them in some honey, then put the remains of the bean in some sugar. I guess I should have dried the beans off first before the sugar though. It’s been a fun experiment and I’m going to get more beans for next year!

    [Reply]

  202. Erin says

    How long do you use your beans before replacing them? I think I’ve had the same beans for two years now. I got some Madagascar’s on sale but I mix them with Mexican beans, too, and I need to get some of those. Do you just toss them out when you replace them? Is there something else I can use them for?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I only use mine for two rounds of vanilla typically, and even on the second round, I double them up with the vodka so that I’ll get a stronger batch since they had been used once already.

    [Reply]

  203. Tracy N. says

    Laura,
    Have you tried making this with Bourbon? If so, is it the same recipe? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura hasn’t made it with Bourbon…I am not sure if it is the same. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! :)

    [Reply]

  204. says

    I’m making vanilla. It’s been sitting for almost 6 months. We’ve been shaking it. Today we decided to open it up and smell it. It still smells like alcohol. Vanilla alcohol, but alcohol none the less. How should it smell? My hands smell like vanilla, so something is working. Should I test it out in a recipe before I gift it?

    [Reply]

    cheryl Reply:

    I had heard that the best way to test your vanilla is to put 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to a 6 to 8 ounce glass of fresh COLD milk. If the milk is not fresh and cold, the extract will taste bitter. You may add a bit of sugar as well. Completely stir the vanilla into the milk. Sip the milk slowly while moving it over the back of your mouth and tongue. This will help yo to get the best sensation of the vanilla flavor.

    [Reply]

  205. Sandy says

    Hi Laura,
    Just like Lyn wrote above, I am making vanilla and it’s been sitting for 4 1/2 months. It smells like vanilla, but the taste is very strong alcohol, and I hardly notice the vanilla flavor. Should I test it in a recipe before gifting it, or is this how it is supposed to taste? I know it will be stronger than the stuff you buy in the store, but still- I don’t want to gift it if it’s not good yet! I have to admit I have not been faithfully shaking it- maybe once a week at most. Is this part of the problem??

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m sure your vanilla is totally fine! When you taste it by itself, it will taste very much like alcohol – yuck! But in a recipe, it will flavor it wonderfully, no worries!

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    Oh good! Thank you for your help!

    [Reply]

  206. Jeanne says

    I’ve had my vanilla sitting for just over 5 months. The color is not very dark. It smells like vanilla, however the taste is not very strong as compared to store bought vanilla. How deep does the color get? How strong should the flavor be? I’m rather disappointed because I wanted to give this as Christmas gifts but it just doesn’t appear comparable to the store bought kind. S Gould I add more vanilla beans and let it steep longer? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m sure yours is just fine! We are used to it looking dark because we get it in dark bottles. Five months is plenty long, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about!

    [Reply]

  207. bberg57 says

    Is there any alcohol that would be gluten free?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m sure there is, but I’m sorry that I don’t know much about different alcohols to know which to suggest.

    [Reply]

  208. bberg57 says

    Reason for using dark bottles?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It protects the vanilla from sunlight which will help the vanilla maintain it’s integrity and keep it good longer!

    [Reply]

  209. Kristy says

    I have no question, I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! I started on my vanilla around April and it was quite potent after 5 months, so I poured it into another bottle and reused the beans for another batch (with about 2/3 as much vodka as the first round) and it is looking perfect after a few months also. I feel like maybe I’ll never run out of it and I love it! I don’t bother straining mine.

    [Reply]

  210. Donna says

    Any idea how I can use just the vanilla beans after I’ve bottled my vanilla? I didn’t include it in the bottles. How long will they last now that they’ve been “used”?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you want, you can let them dry, then grind them up and add them to homemade ice cream or other recipes. Or you can reuse them to make another batch of vanilla – I just use have the amount of vodka as I did for the first round since the beans are not as potent.

    [Reply]

  211. Susan Parker says

    I dont have the beans yet, just ordered earlier today, but saw that you answered a question, by saying the beans could be dried out and ground up for ice cream….what I was wondering, to dry them could I put them in a dehydrator?

    When you put them somewhere for 6 months, the dark place, should it be room temp., or could they be put in the basement (unheated)? Do I shake once a week or more than once a week, or less…maybe once a month? Just wouldnt want them to spoil.

    Thanks for being so dedicated and having a great deal of patience in answering everybody’s questions – including mine.

    Susan

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You can put them in a dehydrator if you want. I usually air dry them on my kitchen counter for a few days.

    Room temp is best while your vanilla is “brewing”. Once a week shaking is best, but if you forget and only get around to it once a month or so, that’s fine too!

    [Reply]

  212. Jamie says

    I apologize if I’m repeating a question, I just couldn’t look through all of them with my 10 mo daughter biting my leg (!) for attention :)

    Where do you get your gallon jars? I’m having a terrible time finding some for free or for sale even. I guess glass is out of favor :P

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Several people have given them to me, but I have found them online or in hardware stores (of all places!). Here’s one on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ZRBGSC?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwheavenlyho-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B006ZRBGSC

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    I know I saw that one too on Amazon, but $25 for one jar makes my hair go up honestly!
    I read that Walmart/Sams/Costco sells pickles in gallon jars for like $4 I think I’ll go that route, my goats will probably eat the pickles, b/c I know I’m not touching them LOL

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    My local hospital’s cafeteria saves them and will give you one if you ask. As will local restaurants. Can’t beat a free and reuseable jar!

    [Reply]

  213. Erin says

    I got a jar off of FreeCycle and our local Bible college gets items in gallon glass jars and they will give those jars away. Try places that feed people in bulk. Even our grocery store’s cake decorating department gives away frosting buckets that can be used for grain storage. I prefer glass but have never found anything for storing 50 lbs of wheat that is glass :)

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  214. Cindy says

    How long will the homemade vanilla last?

    [Reply]

    Lacie Reply:

    I wondered the same thing! How long does it stay good?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It will stay good for years and years!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Cindy – the vanilla will stay good for years!

    [Reply]

  215. Cheryl says

    Is there a 10% off code for olive nation for 2013? I just tried the one posted and it says it’s expired.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Thanks for mentioning this! I just emailed them and asked them to reset it. It’s supposed to be good forever, so hopefully I’ll get back with you shortly and tell you that it’s good to go!

    [Reply]

    Spike Reply:

    I just tried the code “home” on the site and it did not work.
    Is there another code? 12/23/13

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Since this code has not expired, I just tested this. The code “home” did work for me. If you continue to have trouble, you might want to contact Olive Nation – they are very good to work with. One thing: Be sure you’re not entering any other coupon codes as only one will work (free shipping is automatic on this product). Also, I believe the code is case sensitive.

    Nicole B. Reply:

    Go online and search for their coupon codes, I always find a 20% off and vanilla beans are always free shipping.

    Laura Reply:

    Okay, the code is fixed…try again!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Fantastic! Thanks. It’s my first time ordering beans from them, hope they are good quality

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Although, the beans seem to be good quality, I will not be ordering from Olive Nation ever again. Their custsomer service is extremely poor. Apparently, they don’t value their international customers one bit. I won’t give my business to them again.

  216. Cheryl says

    Fantastic! Thanks. It’s my first time ordering beans from them, hope they are good quality!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Ack! Sorry. Double post.

    [Reply]

  217. Amy says

    I also make my own vanilla extract. It is so lovely! I wanted to let everyone know that you can take the “spent” vanilla beans (the ones you used to make the extract) and add them to sugar (I use organic, raw, cane sugar). This makes vanilla sugar that is amazing in baked goods that call for sugar and vanilla. Sometimes I give a gift of vanilla extract, vanilla sugar and a cute measuring spoon set as a hostess gift or a much appreciated gift for the bakers in my life.

    [Reply]

    Mindy Reply:

    Just ordered my beans from Olive Nation! I cannot stand spending $8 for a 4 ounce jar anymore, especially as much as I use it. What a price difference and I’m guessing the quality will be phenomenal.

    Amy, when you used the spent beans for sugar, did you grind them up and add them to sugar? How did you do that? Sounds wonderfule!

    [Reply]

  218. barb powers says

    I Ordered my vanilla beans and received about 30 of them last November. I’m very happy with the quality, especially for the price! I’m finally making up two quarts of vanilla with these; one with vodka and the other with whiskey (I have trouble following recipes sometimes (: ) Thanks for being so awesome and sharing so much goodness!

    [Reply]

  219. Linda says

    How do you seal the small bottles after bottling them? My 21yo daughter and I made up a gallon of vanilla just 2 hours before she was ushered into Heaven. I want to bottle the vanilla we were making and give some of it out as gifts to some of her closest friends as they get married this summer/fall. It will be ready for bottling in another couple of months, but I wanted to have everything ready before it’s time.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your daughter. You don’t technically have to seal them, but if you like, I found some heat and seal plastic at SKSBottle online.

    [Reply]

  220. joanna says

    i just put 7 van. beans in about 8 oz. of vodka for vanilla. i thought this would be cutting the recipe properly, but the beans are not covered w/ the vodka. should they be?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, they do need to be covered with vodka. :)

    [Reply]

  221. Sarah Z says

    If I buy the 1 lb. beans to make this (it’s a better deal than 1/2 lb. and 1/4 lb.) what can I make with the extra beans? I don’t want them to go to waste!!

    [Reply]

    Tracy Compaan Reply:

    Yes, I have this question too! Laura? Can you help us? :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I would try substituting them in some recipes while you wait for your homemade extract to steep. Cut one open and use the seeds in place of vanilla extract in any of your favorite recipes. It should work out well! You could also add some to a smoothie or yogurt for extra flavor. I might even mix some with cream cheese to put on a bagel for a treat!

    [Reply]

    Katherine Reply:

    You can scrape the seeds directly into custards and puddings. Pana cotta with vanilla seeds in particularly good.

    [Reply]

  222. Cindy says

    Laura, I know you used Vodka for your vanilla. I saw in the comments that someone else used whiskey. The stuff I buy at the store is in bourbon – can you explain why the different alcohols can be used, and what real difference does it make?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura is not really sure on any of the other kinds of alcohol…she has only used vodka before. Sorry! :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura is not really sure on any of the other kinds of alcohol…she has only used vodka before. Sorry! :)

    [Reply]

    melanie Reply:

    the vanilla sold in stores is not made from bourbon. It is named Madagascar bourbon vanilla because the vanilla beans are from the Madagascar island of Bourbon.

    [Reply]

    Jaime Reply:

    However, incidentally, extracting Bourbon Vanilla with Bourbon is called a “Double Bourbon Extract”. Those are occasionally sold in stores in the south. Bourbon is typically used with Mexican beans.

    [Reply]

    Nicole B. Reply:

    Cindy, I have made the extract with brandy and it was really really good. I would love to make some with anejo tequila! I know people who also make it with rum. So feel free to experiment. Maybe try small batches with the different liqours. They do impart some flavors to the vanilla, unlike vodka. The fruit liquors would make an amazing extract too…like a citrus, orange, etc.

    [Reply]

  223. Matt says

    Hi Laura! Great info, I Have been making extract for a year or two and noticed you are selling it, have you looked into the legalities of this considering it is basically flavored alcohol? I am interested in selling my extract at farmers market and woneer if you have any info for me?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It depends on the rules at your farmer’s market, but we were able to sell ours without jumping through any extra hoops of any kind. :)

    [Reply]

    cheryl Reply:

    Every state may be different. I checked on that in Michigan and the biggest rule was that you had to sell your extract in person and not mail order.

    [Reply]

  224. Cindy says

    I’m curious – you say cheap vodka is fine. My husband thinks the more quality alcohol, the better the end result (which in theory makes sense – better ingredients, better extract). Is it more the quality of the vanilla beans that is important?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    The quality of bean is important. The better quality you use the better the flavor.

    [Reply]

  225. says

    What size amber bottles do you purchase? Do they come with the lids or are those sold separately?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I get 2 ounce, 4 ounce, and 8 ounce bottles and give them as gifts according to how much the recipient likes to bake! :) The lids come with them.

    [Reply]

  226. Stacia Amiot says

    I just received 16oz of vanilla beans from Olive Nation and it only contains 63 beans. It was stated that you need 80 beans (about 3/4 lb) per gallon of vodka. Do I go by bean count or weight of beans when measuring out the amt of vodka? It seems to me that 16oz of beans should warrant at least a gal of vodka, but is that correct?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I always go by bean count, and seemed to remember that I got a few more than 80 in a 3/4 pound package. Go ahead and use the 63 in the one gallon. It’ll will turn out great!

    [Reply]

    spike Reply:

    I ordered 1/2 lb. and got 92 beans.
    So I used 40 beans/48oz. vodka, 25/32oz. Bourbon, and 25/32oz.Rum.
    I read that the Bourbon and Rum give a different flavor and are good
    for other uses then cooking. Do you think there are enough beans per
    liquid volume?

    [Reply]

  227. Deane says

    I kust bought two bottles of vodka and they are in glass. Could I just split the vanilla beans in half and put them into the two bottles?

    [Reply]

    Missy Reply:

    My question is similar – I didn’t have a glass gallon jar but used 4 quart jars and put 20 beans in each jar and filled the jars to the rIm with vodka. I’m guessing this is ok too? :)

    [Reply]

    Monica Reply:

    I have the same question. I didn’t see a response. Wondering if you tried this with success?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    That will work just fine!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes, that will work out great!

    [Reply]

  228. Amy Pederson says

    I was curious about one of the labels from the Delight Design website. One of the labels said, “double strength”. Does this recipe make double strength vanilla? What is double strength vanilla? Thank you for answering. I can’t wait to get started.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t know all the specifics on double strength vanilla, but I can say that I use half the amount called for in recipes because it is so strong. :)

    [Reply]

  229. says

    I tried reading a lot of the comments to see if you had already answered this question but didn’t see it, so I’m going to ask away.
    Could you use the the vanilla beans for another batch or are they “done” after one batch?
    Thank you for your time.
    Kim

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You could reuse them, but only use half the amount of vodka so the vanilla comes out the strength you want.

    [Reply]

  230. Ann says

    I have been making this vanilla for 3 yrs now. Super stuff. I do repurpose the beans, just not in more vodka. Let them dry out completely. I add them into sugar. I typically make 10lbs at a time. You do need to shake the sugar every day or so, depending on how fast you want it done. I have mine in the kitchen so I see it every day and remember to shake. The longer its in there the more intense the flavor. I gift this sugar along with the vanilla and other stuff in baskets. Oh, I also cut a 2-3″ piece of the bean and include it in the sugar. Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

    Amy H Reply:

    Hi Ann! I’m interested in using my beans to make vanilla sugar. Do you leave your beans whole when you add them to the sugar? I’ve read different methods where people scrape just the seeds and others who put the whole beans into the blender and then add to the sugar. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    [Reply]

  231. cara says

    What does everyone use for the 1 gallon jar?

    [Reply]

    cheryl Reply:

    Anyone looking for the glass jars, go to your local pizza shops and ask if they get any of their foods in glass jars and if you can have a couple of them. My local shop gave me theirs from the green olives they get.

    [Reply]

    J.J. Reply:

    Also check your local grocer or deli. If they have an olive bar, they are bound to have glass jars.

    [Reply]

  232. Cindy says

    Curious – we tried using this (just half what the recipe called for) in some homemade ice cream. Our ice cream didn’t turn out. We’ve now tested our ice cream maker again, using store-bought vanilla (still pure), and it turned out fine. Have you used this to make homemade vanilla ice cream? Can it not be done due to the high alcohol content? We can still give it for some gifts, and use it in other baking, but we were sure hoping we could use it in our homemade vanilla ice cream, but were so disappointed… Help?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Hmmm. That is odd. Laura hasn’t had this problem and I do not have an ice cream maker so I am not sure that we can be much help on this one. I am wondering though if the alcohol is killing the process…I wish I could be more help! Sorry. :(

    [Reply]

  233. Cindy says

    How long can the beans stay in the alcohol? I don’t really want to buy enough amber bottles for ALL the vanilla we made – I want to just buy a few bottles to make up one quart jar, and leave the other quart jars “brewing” until we’ve used all the bottled stuff. But should it ideally NOT stay in the alcohol with the beans longer than 6 months?

    [Reply]

    CHERYL Reply:

    I had read on another site about real vanilla extract is that it is at its best when soaking for at least 2 years, so, let her soak.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You can absolutely let it soak longer. The only thing to be aware of is that the longer it soaks the stronger the vanilla. You may need to adjust to taste when you use it in recipes. It will be delicious though!

    [Reply]

  234. Denise says

    My vanilla still smells like Vodka not vanilla after sitting for 7 1/2 months and ideas what to do? Get more beans and add them or dump and start over? anyone else have this problem or just me. thanks

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    The vanilla beans you used were probably not of good quality. I personally would purchase beans from a different source and add them to the current batch. There is nothing wrong with the alcohol, therefore dumping it would be unnecessary.

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    Did you slice open your beans or just submerge them?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Slice them, leaving about an inch on each end so they stay together. :)

    [Reply]

    Melanie Reply:

    @ LindseyforLaura, thank you, but I was asking that question of Denise, the commentor who had beans in her vodka for 7 months with no luck. Thought maybe that was the problem.

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Oh! Haha…I missed that part. ;)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You can still use the vanilla even if it has a vodka smell to it. It will all bake out anyways and you are left with a yummy vanilla flavor. I wouldn’t dump it and start over. :)

    [Reply]

    Natalie Reply:

    I had the same experience with my homemade extract… I’d gotten beans through my produce co-op, added the correct number to the correct amount of vodka, and after 8 months it’s still vodka. I will definitely order more beans through the recommended business.
    *** My 50-dollar question… are the first batch of vanilla beans okay to use to make vanilla sugar? Or, should I go ahead and toss them?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Definitely make vanilla sugar out of them!! :)

    [Reply]

  235. Terra W says

    I will be attempting my first batch of homemade vanilla tomorrow! So excited! Though, I’m only going to do 1 pint for starters.

    [Reply]

  236. Tracy Compaan says

    I did it! I finally got up the nerve to go and buy a bottle of vodka, and then I already had the vanilla beans from the amazing 20% off sale at Olive Nation, so the beans are cut, and steeping in the vodka in a jar in a dark cabinet! I am so excited! So, wondered what fun I can make with the remaining unused vanilla beans. Maybe 10 of them. guess I could have bought more vodka. But vanilla sugar sounds good!

    [Reply]

  237. BetsyD says

    Based on your recommendation, I am diving in to this project! I purchased the beans from Olive Nation, but only had enough $$ to purchase 4 oz. for now which looks like 25ish beans. How much vodka should I purchase and couldn’t I just drop the beans in the bottle of vodka rather than purchasing another jar? Sorry if these are silly questions, but this is a little out of my comfort zone! :)

    [Reply]

    Angela Reply:

    Since the original uses a gallon, two 1.75 bottles, your could purchase one bottle and put half in another container since 20 beans would quarter her recipe. Or add a tad more than half vodka and put the five left overs. Split the beans, and put em in the bottle would probably be alright,being as hhow the main thing is for them to soak. You could save ur left over vodka for future batch or if you have a mint plant, they have similar recipes online to make mint extract, using a quart vodka, which would be ur half bottle you have left, and a half cup of mint leave bruised(rubbed together to damage the leaves) Then they soak it a month. Makes a mint extract. If you do that, I’d split the bottle, and use the five extra beans either in the vodka and just makes it a Lil stronger vanilla or do as others and makes the vanilla sugar. :-)

    [Reply]

    melanie Reply:

    what a great reply. love the idea to make mint extract! thank you

    [Reply]

  238. Stephanie says

    I was wondering how much you charge for your vanilla. A few people have asked to buy mine, but I don’t know how much to charge.
    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    At this point, we are charging $16 for a 4 ounce bottle and $29 for an 8 ounce bottle. This price has shipping costs figured in, so when we sell to someone local, we subtract shipping costs.

    [Reply]

  239. Christy says

    I’m assuming that the Olive Nation beans are not organic, unless I missed it somewhere on their website. I’m also assuming you’re okay with that, since you’re usually very thorough in researching such things. Any thoughts or reasonings on that issue? I made a batch of vanilla 2 years ago using the Olive Nation beans, so I’m not questioning quality or anything, I just thought I ought to make another batch and suddenly was curious about going organic.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    They aren’t labeled organic. But my husband has done a lot of research on vanilla beans and found that there are actually none available anywhere that are not organic. They are only grown in a few locations in the world, and none of those locations use pesticides, etc. So while they don’t have an organic label, they actually are organic. :)

    [Reply]

    Christy Reply:

    Excellent! Thanks! And thanks to your hubby for doing the research. I suppose I could have researched that more myself, but since my own four boys are currently 4, 3, 2, and 6 months, it was easier just to ask. :) I use your site for a lot of things — thanks for all your work here!

    [Reply]

  240. Tara says

    I usually buy imitation vanilla that isn’t too costly. What is the advantage of making your own because it seems like till you buy the beans and vodka it is going to be quite expensive. My mom always told me to only use real vanilla in vanilla icing recipes.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I avoid imitation vanilla because I prefer to stick with real food and avoid fake food. Imitation vanilla is a chemical flavoring, whereas vanilla extract is all real and natural. Plus it is delicious!

    [Reply]

  241. debbie says

    I am so excited to try this, after seeing your posts about it! I am going to try it with Vegetable Glycerin instead of alcohol. I hope it works!

    [Reply]

    Tara Reply:

    I thought I saw on here something you made up to put with your vanilla sugar and homemade vanilla when you give away as gifts. It was to tell the recipient what to do with it. Do you have this somewhere? I can’t seem to find it.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    In Laura’s shop there is a card pack you can buy. It would be great to give vanilla as a gift and tie a recipe to the jar. Here is the link: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/what-to-do-with-the-vanilla-in-your-kitchen-recipe-card-pack

    [Reply]

  242. Alice Wimple says

    Laura, I ordered the vanilla beans just as you said. I ordered 1 1/2 lbs to make 2 gallons of vanilla extract. You said 3/4 lb. would be good for 80 beans. I have 130 beans combined, not enough to cover the 2 gallons as you suggested. Can I split them 65 & 65 or will that not be enough? I want to make it right away.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes that will work. I’ve noticed lately that the beans are bigger than they used to be, which might be why there are fewer beans in a pound. Because they are bigger, this amount will be just fine for your vanilla!

    [Reply]

  243. Alice Wimple says

    Laura, I was wrong. Only 110 beans came in 1 1/2 lbs. I see lots of recipes with a lot less beans. So is 55 enough for the gallon?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Still fine. :)

    [Reply]

    Tara Reply:

    I am wondering I just got 146 bean in 1 pound. I did the 80 but do you think I should do more? I was going to get maybe another half gallon of vodka to do another batch. I noticed on some other sites that they have you do 7-8 beans per cup of vodka and then only leave it for about 8 weeks instead of 4-6 months. Is this because you are doing smaller amounts or are they just not getting as rich a flavor?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You can certainly do it that way. Some people may just want the immediate gratification of getting vanilla sooner. :) Either way should work out just fine.

  244. christie says

    I am making vanilla for the first time. I started them in June. I peaked at them the other day and opened the lid. It smells more like alcohol than vanilla still is that normal? They have been soaking for over 4 months.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    There will still be a slight scent of alcohol in the vanilla when it is done. When you bake with it that all goes away. :)

    [Reply]

  245. Donna Peters says

    Laura:
    I accidentally left my vanilla in the back of the closet for a year. Some how i forgot about it!!! Is it going to be to strong? My son was so excited to get the jar out and take the vanilla beans out so we took them out and it smells woderful!!!! Just wanted to find out if it is any good or not I would like to give as Christmas gifts!!!!
    Thanks so much and God Bless!!!
    Donna Peters

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Vanilla actually is at its peak at 2 years of steaping, so you are good to go. I even put about a 3 inch piece of the bean in the smaller jars before sealing and giving as gifts so it can keep steaping.

    [Reply]

  246. Donna Peters says

    Thanks so much Cheryl. I am on my way to Trader Joe’s to look at some tiny jars for giving gifts for Christmas.

    [Reply]

  247. Carly says

    I just received my order from OliveNation and I had over 90 beans in 1/2 lb. should I still use a full 3/4 lb for the vanilla extract? Or should I save them? What do you do with the leftovers? How long do they last?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    The more beans you use the more flavorful the vanilla. You really can’t mess it up! If you want to follow the exact recipe that is great too. Vanilla beans can be opened and scraped out to use in all kinds of baking recipes. It gives fabulous flavor!

    [Reply]

  248. Verity says

    I ordered some beans and hubby and I were both so excited when they came in! I made some vanilla bean ice cream that’s amazing and got some extract started. Then I got to thinking…I wonder if I can make other extracts? Are they as easy as vanilla extract? So I did some research, and guess what? They are! I use almond extract quite alot, as well as orange and lemon. Its as easy as putting raw almonds into 80 proof or higher alcohol! Or scrubbing an orange or other citrus and then taking your vegetable peeler and peeling the zest off before you peel it to eat and tossing that into alcohol! I’m also going to make coconut extract. Just open a coconut, grate the meat and throw it into a jar with some alcohol! My brain is exploding in anticipation at all the amazing things I’m going to make with my quarts of extract!

    Also, somewhat off topic, but did you know its so easy to make your own onion, garlic and ginger powders? Just slice thin, dehydrate until crispy and grind into a powder! I made some last week and it tastes amazing, so much better than the weak store bought stuff.

    [Reply]

    maddienme Reply:

    You inspire me

    [Reply]

  249. Beth says

    Maybe this is a silly question… but does it taste like alcohol after the 6 months is up? Does the alcohol evaporate?
    THANKS!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it does actually still taste like alcohol if you were to taste a drop on your finger. It’s amazing though how it give food a wonderful vanilla flavor!

    [Reply]

  250. Beth says

    Hi! I am going to give this a go for Christmas gifts this year. Looking forward to it. Is there any reason why I couldn’t just put the bean right in the glass vodka bottles? Or should I look for a gallon jar to use instead?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Verity Reply:

    No reason except for volume increase. Just pour some of the vodka out to make room for the beans!

    [Reply]

  251. Shannon says

    I have made my own vanilla extract for years now. I have found it really only needs a month if you get the bottle out a couple times of day to shake vigorously. This is how a family friend of mine to make mine. Also add extra vanilla beans for greater flavor. I have also used the spent beans into a pot of cream while making homemade french vanilla ice cream.

    [Reply]

  252. Judy P says

    I am trying to order the beans and bottles but it is not accepting the code home. and shipping is $11.29 . also they want a referral code. thank you, Judy Peterson

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    The code should still be working, just be sure you are using all lowercase letters. Contact Amit at Olive Nation if it continues to give you trouble: amit@olivenation.com

    Regarding shipping, if you are only ordering vanilla beans, shipping cost is free. Other items in your cart add a shipping cost (unless your total order is over $50). :)

    [Reply]

  253. says

    I am going to make vanilla extract for the first time. I can hardly wait for the results. Another thing to check off my bucket list. Is there anything you can use the beans for after you take them out of the vodka? I am also giving a kit to someone for Christmas. I think she will love it.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Put them into some sugar to make vanilla sugar! :)

    [Reply]

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