How to Make: Your Own Vanilla Extract

One of my favorite things about Tonga was buying fresh vanilla pods from the market. They are so incredibly fragrant and delicious-smelling. I was so excited when I got home to try my hand at making fresh vanilla extract for my friends and family. It’s amazing how simple it really is!

Bundles of fresh vanilla pods-yum!

 The lady I bought my vanilla from at the market in Tonga.

To make your own, all you need is:

• Vanilla pods (if you don’t have access to fresh ones, you can order them online)
• Cheap vodka or rum (quality is not important in this case)
• A bottle to put your extract in (you can use any bottle you like, I ordered mine online here)
•A funnel to help pour the alcohol into the bottle

Step 1: Use a knife to cut slits in the vanilla pods, and if necessary, cut in half to fit bottle.

Step 2: Place pods in bottle (I put about three pods in each) and then fill bottle with the alcohol.

Step 3: Seal bottles tightly and let set in a dark place for about 2 months before using. The color will begin to darken after a day or so and will get progressively darker. Shake occasionally to evenly distribute flavor and add more alcohol if extract runs low. It’s that simple!

After I finished, I used Photoshop to make my own labels for my vanilla before giving them out as Christmas gifts. The pictures above show the extract after about 6 months. Notice how dark it has gotten. It makes a delicious (and cheaper and long-lasting) vanilla extract perfect for baking, ice cream, coffee…you name it!

Hope you enjoyed!