Making Pure Vanilla Extract


| 10/15/2018 3:15:00 PM


When I was growing up in the 70’s, there was one ubiquitous baking ingredient that was always in our kitchen cabinet - vanilla extract. I didn’t think that much about this solitary ingredient, a teaspoon or two of which was added to practically every dessert.

Once I was out on my own, I delved into the world of cooking with enthusiasm. This was also around the time when cooking shows really started to take off…and I began to hear about the wonders of real vanilla extract. All of a sudden, I realized the importance of that one word descriptor that was on the bottle of extract in my mom’s cabinet – “Artificial”.

Of course, I needed to find out what all the fuss was about so on my next trip to the grocery store, I searched the baking aisle….and there it was. A small bottle of the real stuff, aka “pure vanilla extract”, stood beside a large bottle of the artificial. I had to do a double take on the price, though – for a minute I thought they had placed the bottles in the wrong spots as the real extract in its teeny tiny bottle (probably one quarter the size of the artificial) was twice as expensive. Say what?  I read the details on the shelf labels and they were indeed correct.

Once I brought it home and opened the bottle, however, I got it. I didn’t even need to use the extract in a recipe to experience the difference. The scent was incredible and oh so different from the chemically smell of the artificial – a true night and day difference.

My philosophy is that homemade is always best so it didn’t take long before I ventured into making my own vanilla extract. And another ‘wow’ moment ensued. Everyone that smells my vanilla “homebrew” is floored….it’s just so incredible!



And the best part?  It’s beyond easy. You only need two ingredients, zero special equipment (you don’t even need to purchase a bottle!) and it takes about 2 minutes to make. Literally. No, I’m not kidding. The hardest part about making vanilla extract is the wait as it does need to “steep” for a few weeks.



Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube