I’ve been wanting to make vanilla for quite some time. A 4 ounce bottle of pure vanilla extract costs approximately $7 at the store. Is it cheaper for me to make vanilla rather than to purchase it in the store? Here’s the breakdown:

1.75 Liter of Rum =    $19
15 Vanilla Beans = + $15 ($1.00 each)
Total = $34 for 1.75 liters of vanilla (59 ounces of vanilla)

If my calculations are correct, it costs me $.58 per ounce or $2.32 per 4-ounce bottle of homemade vanilla.  Is it worth my time and money? Absolutely.

So, now that I’ve caught your attention. Here’s how to make your own vanilla.

15 vanilla beans
1.75 liter of rum (or vodka)

Slice vanilla beans lengthwise down the middle. Place them in a large glass container. Add the rum. Cover and let them sit in a dark place for 4-6 months, shaking the jar every now and then.

Once the vanilla has reached the 4-6 month mark, strain the vanilla through cheesecloth into clean jars. 

What do you do with the vanilla beans? DON’T THROW THEM OUT!

#1. Make another batch of vanilla (would either use less rum or let them sit longer).
#2. Make vanilla sugar. Rinse the vanilla beans and let them dry. Once they are dry, place them in a large sugar container. Let it sit for 2 weeks and then remove the vanilla beans. 
#3. Wash and dry them. Save them in a glass container and make Strawberry Vanilla Jam this spring. 

I purchased Madgascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla.com. They had a special of 25 vanilla beans for $25 with free shipping (that’s only $1 per bean). Did you know that 2 vanilla beans at our local store costs approximately $9?! Definitely purchase them online.

Comment and let me know if you decide to make your own vanilla. If you already do make your own vanilla…how did it go?