Now is the time to make your own homemade vanilla extract for Christmas presents or for holiday baking! Does it seem too early? SIX months is the perfect time to let it sit, to make a delicious vanilla. Why don’t I use vodka? Well, personally, I hate vodka and not just because it makes me not-nice. It is likely made with GMO wheat or potatoes or corn. Also, it just doesn’t taste as yummy as rum or bourbon in a dessert. I do avoid GMO foods whenever possible. There is such a thing as GMO-vodka such as Deep Eddy Vodka for $19 a bottle. However, I am SO IN LOVE with the taste of my homemade bourbon vanilla extract made with bourbon or my homemade rum vanilla extract made with rum! I have baked with it many times, and it always comes out great but my favorite use is in whipped cream or in some coffee.
I used rum made in Louisiana from Louisiana cane sugar for a GMO-free grain-free vanilla extract. Louisiana cane sugar is GMO free, and I used Old New Orleans brand rum (which is also local to me!). I also used organic vanilla beans. For the bourbon, I used Wild Turkey. It is GMO-Free! Whoo-hoo!
It is important to know that the vanilla beans have to be submerged to not mildew in the bottle. So, if you decide to leave it in the bottle to use for yourself, make sure you cut the beans small so they sit on the bottom of the bottle. I poured mine out into amber 4 ounce bottles I bought from Frontier (future post on how much I love Frontier). I also bought some labels from Vistaprint when we sold some of these bottles to raise money for a friend’s adoption.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Use rum for a grain-free extract. Makes one 750 ML bottle
1 bottle of rum or bourbon
For GMO-free rum, Use Old New Orleans or any cane-sugar rum made in US or Cuba. For GMO-Free bourbon, you can use Wild Turkey.
15 organic vanilla beans
Open liquor bottle. On a wooden cutting board, slice the vanilla bean pods length-wise and use the knife to scrape out the inside seeds. Drop seeds into the bottle. Scrape the seeds on the knife blade inside the lip of your rum bottle to get them all inside the bottle. Then, cut the vanilla bean pods at least in half, or smaller if you plan to keep the extract in this bottle and use it yourself. Drop them into the bottle. Re-cork the bottle and shake well. Store in a cool dark place for 3 – 6 months, SHAKING DAILY if possible. You know it is done when it’s a dark brown and tastes very vanilla-y. Important: Don’t let the liquid go below the vanilla pods. Pour them into small amber bottles and make a label if using for gifts!