Thursday, 25 April 2013

Homemade Madagascan Vanilla Extract

Being a normal person with a normal person's kitchen I'm a huge fan of foolproof recipes that give amazing results and it really doesn't get much simpler than this recipe for homemade vanilla extract.

Featuring in a large number of recipes vanilla extract is an essential ingredient for most baker's store cupboards, but it's definitely one of those things where you get what you pay for and good quality vanilla extract comes with a pretty hefty price tag.  The good news is that you can easily make your own for a far more sensible outlay.  Personally I have never tried a shop bought version that can match home made for taste and as soon as my bought ones are used up I doubt they'll ever darken my kitchen again.

vanilla extract


1 bottle of good quality (unflavoured) vodka
12 - 15 whole vanilla pods


  1. Drop the vanilla pods, whole, into the bottle of vodka making sure that they are completely covered by the alcohol.  You might need to remove a bit of vodka from the bottle first to make sure there is space for the vanilla as the vodka is displaced.  (Oh dear now you've got spare vodka with no home, that's a shame)
  2. Put in the back of the cupboard and forget about it for at least a month by which time the vanilla will have spread itself around giving the most amazing vanilla extract, ready to use in all your culinary masterpieces.

How easy is that?

This extract will last you for years as you can keep adding more vodka and vanilla as you use it up and it just keeps getting better and better the longer you leave it.  It makes a great gift for friends if decanted into smaller bottles and you could even use a decorative bottle to keep it in rather than the original vodka bottle.

The only thing you need to remember is always keep enough vodka in the bottle so that the vanilla pods are completely covered, otherwise you run the risk of it going mouldy.

Given that there are only two ingredients they need to be good quality, you will definitely notice the difference if you skimp here.  Buying vanilla pods in bulk is nowhere near as expensive as getting them one by one from the supermarket.  I used premium Madagascan vanilla pods from Vanilla Bazaar for mine and would recommend them whole heartedly.  You can find them here.

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