At thecookingworld.com we love to make our own vanilla extract. We love the way how vanilla beans transform plain alcohol into an amazing floral, sweet and delicious extract. And the best part is that you can make your own homemade vanilla extract, making it even more special, without much work involved and at a fraction of the cost of premium store-bought extracts.
So before you will run to the store to buy the ingredients to make your own extract, we will share with you our five favorite tips for making an incredible vanilla extract at home.
The first step to making a great homemade vanilla extract is to buy the perfect vanilla bean. But you don’t need to bother with the plump vanilla beans at the specialty shop or even at the supermarket. There are two main reasons why you shouldn’t use this type of vanilla beans. First, they are too expensive and the second reason is that this type of beans are not the best ones to use.
Instead, you should buy grade B vanilla beans. There are many online shops or grocery stores where you can buy it. Personally, we like to buy our vanilla beans at slofoodgroup or Vanilla Products USA. We prefer to use grade B vanilla beans because they are actually rated for extract. And because they are cheaper you can buy more, end up with a richer extract.
Another great tip to improve vanilla extract is to splitting the bean in half or even chopping the bean into 1-inch pieces. If you doing this you will end up with a premium quality extract, in a shorter period of time.
To make the perfect homemade vanilla extract there is a simple rule: Don’t make extract with alcohol you wouldn’t drink. There are many recipes online where people use cheap vodkas or high-percentage alcohols. Forget these recipes! For making a better vanilla extract, you should choose an alcohol that you like to drink in a mixed cocktail — usually something mid-priced and mid-quality.
This is another important step to achieve great results. Since both the vanilla bean pods and their seeds tend to sink to the bottom of the bottle, shaking moves the infused alcohol around, allowing for better and faster extraction. This extra step will result in a stronger extract flavor. So, every few days give your bottles of vanilla extract a good shake.
Last but not least, make sure that your vanilla extract is properly stored. This is so important as what vanilla beans you choose! Homemade extract should be stored in an airtight container, preferably a light-blocking amber or cobalt container, and in a dark place. In this conditions, homemade vanilla extract can be stored indefinitely, although you should give it a whiff every year to make sure it still smells and tastes delicious.