Finished Vanilla Beans

Submerged in vodka vanilla beans, waiting for their rum which came later. These jars sat from February to April in my cupboard. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I have been meaning to put these photos up since I took them in February. But, it’s taken me this long to find a slideshow application I can  use and like well enough. Thank you, flickr, for being a good – a reasonable aid.

So, how do you make Homemade Vanilla Extract and why would you do it? Back in February, I was out of vanilla extract. I have long since stopped using imitation vanilla and only purchased what I deem to be the “good stuff.” Food club stuff (more on that later!) was finally materializing, and I was participating in a new level of food. Someone replied to a discussion board with how easy it is, so I Googled it and concurred: Simple, I can do this.

So, I bought my first bag of Vanilla Beans. I purchased them from Frontier Natural Coop where I have had a coop membership, now for nearly two years. It was remarkably affordable. One quarter ounce yielded about 30 beans. I think my bag actually had 33. You only needed 6 beans for every two cups of vodka. There are many tweaks to making vanilla extract, with how long you let the vodka soak up the vanilla goodness to what sort of simple syrup you choose to add. This is what I did, and it’s got nothing but rave reviews. And, it makes for a super easy “preserve exchange” gift!


  • 2 cups vodka (I’ve been using Shmirnoff)
  • 6 Vanilla Beans, sliced lengthwise, leaving one inch at the top in tact
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum (Captain works as does Sailor Jerry’s)


  1. Slice the beans you will use lengthwise, leaving one inch at the top
  2. Pour vodka into 2 quart mason jar
  3. Insert beans in jar, gently applying pressure with a spoon to ensure they stay submerged
  4. Add spiced rum to give coloring and add a touch of sweetness
  5. Let sit for at least two months
  6. Strain, I use a mess colander and cheese cloth last time and it worked wonderfully
  7. Pour into smaller containers, I use 4 oz amber, Boston rounds, also purchased from Frontier
  8. Enjoy & Gift away!

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”alexis22578″ id=”72157625490387074″]

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