Make your own… Vanilla Extract

I seem to have consumed a vast amount of vanilla extract this year,

Vanilla - Extracting
Vanilla - Extracting

with all of the ice cream, custards and cakes that I’ve been baking.  You can’t really beat proper, good quality vanilla extract – vanilla essence just isn’t the same thing and cheaper extracts have a much lower proportion of actual vanilla seed.  I pay around £3.50 for a 75ml bottle of good quality stuff, and frankly it doesn’t last very long.  By buying vanilla pods in bulk and making your own. you can produce a top quality extract in a matter of months for a fraction of the price, and you know exactly what’s gone into it!

Made too much?  Apparently it will keep for years and years, but how about decanting into smaller bottles and give away as Christmas presents?

You’ll need a 250ml glass bottle


  • 10 Vanilla Pods
  • 200 ml reasonable quality Vodka, e.g. Smirnoff Red Label


  • Cut each pot in half lengthwise with a sharp knife
  • Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds
  • Chop the remaining pod into 3-4 cm lengths
  • Put the seeds and pods into a sterilized 250 ml glass bottle
  • Top the bottle up with Vodka
  • Seal and shake well
  • Put in a cool dark cupboard for 6 months before use, shaking periodically
  • Before use, you can filter off the liquor or just pick out the pods
Vanilla Pods - step by step
Vanilla Pods - step by step
Scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon
Scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon

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