How to Make Vanilla Extract

Did you know that Vanilla is actually not an essential oil?

It is actually an extract, but it does have some amazing aromatherapy benefits. 
So many of you have asked me about buying Vanilla that I thought I would do something a little different today and teach you how to make it.
It is super easy to make I'm going to teach you how to do it and then you'll have more than enough vanilla to cook with or even to add to sugar scrubs or your personal essential oil blends.

Needed Ingredients: 

  • Vanilla Beans 

  • Vodka 

  • A Glass Jar

Oh and 1 more thing, you will need patience… A lot of patience, because it only takes about one minute to make all this but 12 months until the extract is ready. 

You're going to need about one ounce of vanilla beans per 1-Cup of alcohol. I typically use a 3-cup mason jar and add 3oz of vanilla beans. Now if you're a scientist you know that when I pour in my vodka that the beans are going to disperse some of the volume, so if I were to measure, I'm going to actually have a little bit less than three cups as I add it, but that's OK. Your vanilla is going to taste delicious as long as the ratio is about 1 Cup of alcohol of vodka to about one ounce of vanilla beans. 
Place your vanilla beans to the jar and then add 1-cup of vodka for every ounce of vanilla beans in your jar. 
Make sure that your beans are completely covered. If any of them are sticking up you can cut off the tops, tie them together, or push them down in the jar. 
Then you're going to put your lid on and that is all friends. If you're super sophisticated you can shake it once in a while when you think about it, but otherwise just put it in a cabinet for about 12 months. 

Check out my YouTube video of me making Vanilla Extract so you can see how easy the process  is.  

After about a week you will start to see the alcohol darken up. It will progressively get darker until it is completely ready to be used at around 12 months.  
Once your vanilla extract is ready to go you are going to take out your vanilla beans. There are a couple of things you can do with your beans once you have your extract. 
I love to lay mine out on my counter and dry them or you could dehydrate them. If you're in a humid climate you might need to put them in a dehydrator or in the oven on the very lowest temperature for short period of time, but here in Colorado they dry out for me pretty much overnight. 
Then you can put some of your vanilla beans in a jar of sugar this will flavor your sugar that you bake with, put in your coffee, or however you like to use sugar.
It is really fun to make a sugar scrub out of the flavored sugar and gives the scrub a delicious smell. Either way you're going have this lovely vanilla sugar smell.
Another way that you can use the dry beans is, you can actually grind them up into a vanilla bean powder. Take some of the vanilla beans and just put into a little coffee bean grinder. Use these vanilla beans to add to baked goods or you can add them to anything you want really.
For beans that aren't dried yet you can cut the bean in half and squeeze out the vanilla caviar to use in ice cream or frosting. Sometimes I will cheat before 12 months and I'll take out a few beans cut it open, squeeze out that caviar and use it in frosting or ice cream and then put the bean that's been squeezed back in the alcohol to continue to extract. 

The graph below is from a company called Indrivanilla. You will find their info linked below, they are definitely the vanilla extracting experts! 

Click the link and navigate to their FAQ page for answers to all your Vanilla questions. 

Below you will find a map to determine the kind of alcohol you should buy for your vanilla extract. This map is also from Indrivanilla. 

I'm certainly not an expert, but you know that I'm essential oil lady so I know a few oils that you can use in place of other extracts that you may already have on hand.  
You can use peppermint essential oil in place of peppermint extract. It depends on what you're cooking how much you use so you'll have to play with it a little bit. I find maybe three drops of peppermint essential oil is perfect for frosting or peppermint bark. 
Peppermint essential oils has so many amazing uses though. I like to use it for head tension and it’s also great to use in the diffuser when I need a little extra stimulation to wake me up. I can also put it on my abdomen for digestive discomfort 
Cinnamon is another great essential oil that you can use in place of cinnamon extract. I don't have cinnamon extract, but I'll use a drop of cinnamon oil in my cookies and it makes them taste delicious. 
Wild Orange essential oil is a great replacement for orange extract. I'll add this to frosting for cookies or sometimes brownies. Oh, and adding it to melted chocolate and then making chocolate covered strawberries with the chocolate is so amazing. 
Next time you make some vanilla frosting and want to elevate the flavor, just add a drop of lemon essential oil to the frosting. Lemon essential oils is not a replacement for lemon juice though, because there is no acidity in the essential oil, but it will give your frosting a lovely lemon flavor. 
Here is a video of how I made 5 holiday treats during Christmas that are all infused with essential oils. These recipes are all super easy and fun to make even if you are a beginner baker. 

I am also linking this video on how to make continuous brew kombucha which is also kind of fun to make at home for yourself rather than buying it from the store which can get pricey. 

I love talking about essential oils and showing you guys how I use them in my life, but I also love sharing non oils related projects I am working on and fun things that are going on in my life. 
Happy Vanilla extracting!  


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