Monday, August 01, 2016

Making Vanilla Extract

I spent a great deal of my mid-twenties freaked out about feeding my husband. One of the first times I baked for him, I unwittingly used a vanilla extract that I later found out wasn't necessarily gluten free. I was SO MAD AT MYSELF. There are plenty of good GF vanilla extracts out there, but when I learned how easy it was to make, I vowed to never buy it again.
Get yourself an alcoholic base. We use Tito's vodka because it's corn-based and it claims to be GF, but you could use rum or something else.  I purchased my Tito's at a Speedway at 11:00 on a Tuesday morning and I could feel the judgment oozing out of the cashier.
Get yourself some vanilla beans. They're kind of hard to find here and happen to be the trickiest ingredient for me; I had to go into the local co-op at ask them. Rumor has it you can buy beans online, but quality is hit or miss. I also purchased a case of 12 250 ml glass bottles about eighteen months ago and haven't regretted it.

So you gather those three materials. Split the beans down the middle, put them in the bottle, pour in the alcohol, put the top on, and shake.
Store in a cool, dark place. I put mine in the cabinet with our drinking glasses, so every day I get to see how the vanilla is progressing. I also shake them every day. Wait eight weeks and then you'll have vanilla extract! It's magical and takes all of five minutes.
This is what the bottle I'm currently using looks like.  I know it's gluten free and I feel like such a grown-up when I use it. It's ridiculous, but there you have it.

I'm going to make up a bunch of these to have on hand as hostess and housewarming gifts. I might also give some of them away as holiday presents.


  1. I'm glad you included that last paragraph. I was wondering how long it would take to use up the 12 vials of vanilla extract, if not the bottle of Tito's.

  2. The bottle of Tito's makes 4 of the 250 ml bottles. I use about one bottle of vanilla extract every six months or so. I guess I bake a lot? Between cookies and granola, I do use more than your average person, I guess.


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