Vodka On My Counter

Vodka for homemade vanilla

I keep a vodka bottle on the counter, right next to the wooden spoon and spatula holder.  Sip a little.  Stir a little.  Sip a little. Stir…

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

All you’ll need:  Vanilla Beans and Vodka.

Buy vanilla beans when you see them.  You can research all the fancy kinds of beans if you want and really belabor the process, I suppose.  I just spotted some once and snagged them up as an impetus to make myself get the job done.  My package contained about 6 beans (1 ounce) for about $6.  You need 6 beans for 1 cup of vanilla.  Twelve for two cups.  And so on.  You can find vanilla beans for less than this.  Just keep your eye out and snatch them up when you see them reasonably priced.  A fair price seems to be about $4-6 dollars an ounce.

Buy a bottle of vodka.  Vodka is usually used because it apparently has no flavor of its own to tamper with the vanilla flavor.  You can be fancy if you want, but I read that most of us won’t know the difference between vanilla made in cheap vodka or vanilla made in expensive vodka.  Look for potato or corn vodka if you react to low levels of gluten, although the distillation process should remove all traces of protein (Gluten-Free Vodka List).  And remember, it takes 6 beans (1 ounce) for 1 cup, 12 beans (2 ounces) for two cups, and so on.  So my bottle of vodka is about 3 cups (750 mL), and to make vanilla extract according to law, I would need about 18 beans (3 ounces).

Place beans in bottle of vodka.  On a cutting board, slit the beans lengthwise with a knife if you want.  Scrape up the insides if you want.  Chop them up into little pieces if you want.  Some people do not do anything except just drop them in!  Mine got slit in half and dropped in the bottle.  No chopping.  No scraping.  Do make sure your beans are completely submerged in alcohol to prevent mold; we don’t want “pure moldy bean vanilla.”  (Alternatively, you may transfer some vodka to a glass jar and make vanilla in a glass jar if you don’t have enough beans to do the whole bottle of vodka.)

Close bottle and shake well.  Store in a kitchen cupboard for about 6-8 weeks, shaking occasionally to mix up the flavors.  The longer it sits, the richer the flavor.  Some say up to 6 months.  I smelled mine every week or so.  It just smells so good!  I use it just like normal vanilla.  You can decant it if you want and put it in a cute bottle or something.  Right now, I have so much, I can just pour off the top without difficulty.  And leave it in the vodka bottle sitting on the counter within easy reach.

Cost:  McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract costs about two dollars an ounce.  My vanilla cost about a one dollar per ounce.

(Thank you to my second sister for being the force behind my bottle of vanilla.)

making vanillaClosing

I’ve kept the instructions basic.  If you are a die-hard perfectionist, you really should look up elsewhere all the finer details.  But my vanilla smells and tastes great!  (Sip a little.  Stir a little.)

Just a bit of encouragement to eat real food.  My husband knocked off 30 pounds AND his daily reflux (GERD) medicine.  My child eliminated dependence on Miralax.  All of my children got off of 2-3 prescription allergy medicines apiece.  Yes.  We did have to take out a lot of allergenic food initially, but now we have experimented a bit and see we can allow them to have treat meals or snacks without setbacks.  I am so proud of my family for sticking with me through this!  What we learned will have implications for them the rest of their lives.  What they learned at ages 10, 8, and 5, I had to learn in my fourth decade of life.

YOU, TOO, CAN DO THIS!  I wish you would.  (I’m talking real food here.  The vanilla is just a bonus idea.)

Identify the barriers and be a conqueror.


17 thoughts on “Vodka On My Counter

  1. Elizabeth Marie

    Beautifully said at the end of your post. How wonderful that you all could persevere and reap the rewards!! I feel for you sister, Our first child at the age of 6 months let us know that she was intolerant/allergic to wheat, rice and oats. Now that was a life lesson. Here I was a first time Mom making all of my own foods for her using alternative grains I had never heard of and throwing out batch after batch of disgusting baked goods until one day I got it right. The almost perfect blend of an allpurpose flour mix that she could eat and would actually make baked goods that others could enjoy with her. As long as we kept the offending grains out of her system long enough she healed. Now she is all grown up and in college and has never had an episode. Granted she has chosen not to consume wheat due to its terrible effects on the body, but she healed and that is what is most important.
    Love your simple vanilla extract recipe–simple is best!!
    Peace & Raw Health,
    Elizabeth Marie

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      THAT is an awesome story! I’d like to be able to eat certain grains again–not that I would much–but I’d like to have that choice! My kids did great at “healing” and do okay with their previous problem foods. Me, I fail every time I reintroduce them.

      Anyhow–I’m so happy my sister helped me with the vanilla! We use quite a bit of that stuff!

      1. Elizabeth Marie

        I will not and cannot tolerate consuming wheat. Have to pick a vodka that is made from potato or corn from out of the U.S. Lately we have been using “Vikingfjord” which is a potato vodka from Norway. It is made with Glacial water. It is neutral and smooth!!! Hope this helps. Peace.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I should have done this years ago. I mean, unlike making coconut milk/almond milk/homemade nutbutters/etc–THIS is super easy, super economical (as long as your beans are a good price, which they don’t seem to be at my grocery store, but they are on-line), and great tasting! Do it! Do it! 🙂 Can’t wait for your next recipe!

  2. Julie

    Too funny! I was just talking about the vodka we have with my mother in law this morning. I use the same proof as the one you use to make vanilla extract, that or rum for a little flavor in the vanilla, or a mixture. I have never seen Phillips, we use Smirnoff. I’m sure the Phillips is probably a better quality! My mother in law is taking an herbalist course and she has to get 90 proof vodka for the “tinctures” she will be making. 🙂

    Vanilla beans are crazy expensive here, so I resort to buying them in bulk on Amazon, and if that’s too much, you can always reason that you can use it for gifting purposes…everyone loves homemade vanilla extract! Or, you can make some vanilla salt, or sugar.

    Anyway, love this!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I sent my husband to buy the vodka. He had no clue why we needed it and asked no questions. Probably thought he was getting a lucky night upcoming or something. I would have had him pick up the cheapest brand he could find, but he said since he didn’t know, he just kind of grabbed something that looked decent. I read a 70-80 proof would work fine; mine is 80. That’s cool! An herbalist course! Fun!

      I bought mine through a company called Azure as I was “food shopping”, but I’ll probably just do Amazon next time! Good price, and I read the beans don’t need to be “anything special!” I’m kind of mad that I’ve spent so much money on store bought vanilla through the years. This is SO easy AND good!

      I’ll bet you make THE cutest vanilla bottle gifts!


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