Homemade Vanilla

I want to make homemade vanilla for friends and family for Christmas. My question is: do you leave the vanilla pod in the vodka indefinitely? I hope so, but just want to check to be sure.

Susan W
  • Posted by: Susan W
  • August 29, 2014


Adianne August 31, 2014
I have always wanted to try this. Now I am inspired to do this for gifts for my baking friends. Does anyone have a good on-line source for purchasing the vanilla beans?
strawberrygirl August 31, 2014
I've ordered from Beanilla before. They have a good selection and the beans were high quality.
Susan W. August 31, 2014
I have been looking on amazon. Lots of choices, but make sure you read the reviews.
Susan W. August 31, 2014
I just looked at Beanilla. They have Madagascar beans on sale with free shipping. My mom just added her friends to my list, so I am going to order their beans since strawberrygirl has tried them.
boulangere August 30, 2014
I just made some. I had some seriously dead vanilla beans that a predecessor had stuffed into a jar of sugar guaranteed to suck every last drop of moisture out of them. Rather than throw them away, and believe me, I was both mad and tempted, I carved them open and stuck them (about 2 dozen) into a bottle of vodka. That was about 2 weeks ago. I've shaken them every 2 or 3 days, and they've now taken on both the deep color and even deeper flavor of commercial vanilla extract. I'm going to strain the solution through a sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth to extract the solids and floating stuff, then save it in bottles. Your idea of giving them as gifts is so lovely. And in your case, the idea of including a vanilla bean in the bottle is wonderful. What a great idea. Thank you.
Susan W. August 30, 2014
I wonder if my beans will fall apart like yours? I am going to split them open to release the seeds. Maybe I will make it in the big bottles of vodka and strain it if they fall apart. In my mind, the seeds will be visible, but I don't want other floaty stuff.

Last year, everyone received homemade ghee in cute squaty Fido jars. :0)
Amy August 30, 2014
I am a baker and I regularly place my "used" pods (the ones that I have scraped clean for other things) into my vodka jar. I shake it now and then, and use what I need...adding more vodka as necessary. Then, as it gets fuller, scoop older pieces out and put newer ones in. I think that you could probably do this forever and have wonderful luck!
Susan W. August 30, 2014
Great idea to replenish. I will put that on the gift tag.
mom L. August 30, 2014
I learned from Ina Garten that you take a good vodka and soak 4-5 beans and keep them in there indefinitely. It will take one month to flavor the vodka and turn into an extract. You should turn the bottle upside down and right side up a couple times a week. It's yummy one month later.
Susan W. August 30, 2014
Lol on the good vodka. She always says "good" whatever ingredient. I have the cute bottles and pods. Just need to go get the vodka.
strawberrygirl August 30, 2014
I did this last year and it was a big hit. Leaving the vanilla bean in is fine, as long as it's completely submerged in the alcohol. Most recipes I've seen suggest using at least 3-5 beans per 8oz of alcohol. It's good to split the pods lengthwise but not necessary to scrape out the seeds. You can also use rum, bourbon or brandy instead of vodka.
Susan W. August 30, 2014
I wonder if the recipients need to remove the pod as it emerges with use.
Assonta W. August 30, 2014
I've been looking into this for a while and my research says to use one that is at least "middle of the road" if not better. At least one you would drink comfortably. That way you wont have the harsh cheap alcohol smell/taste when done.
Susan W. August 30, 2014
Thank you. That is exactly what I planned to do.
Jenny M. August 30, 2014
I would leave it in
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