If you’re like me you love baking. Arguably one of the most well known ingredients used in baking is vanilla extract. I’m used to buying a small bottle from the store, but my days of spending money on this flavoring are over as I’ve discovered this sweet recipe for making your own!
Vanilla extract only needs two ingredients: vanilla beans and alcohol. This is far better than what store-bought vanilla extract is made with. The ingredients consist of sugar, artificial flavour, caramel color and sodium benzoate.
Problems with store-bought vanilla extract
The ingredients in store-bought vanilla extract come at a cost; the cost of a healthy body.
We associate sugar with the term “empty calories”. This is because sugar has no essential nutrients and is packed with unnecessary calories. On top of this, sugar is loaded with fructose and causes tooth decay. Fructose is directly converted to fat by our liver. This can cause fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Food colouring like the one used in store-bought vanilla extract (caramel coloring) contains two chemicals called 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimadazole. These two colorings cause lung cancer, liver cancer and many other forms of cancer.
Sodium Benzoate can actually deprive our cells of the oxygen they need to function properly. It can damage our liver as well because our body is not able to process it properly. Because it deprives our body of oxygen it is actually limiting our cells from fighting off unwanted visitors in our body, mainly cancer.
To keep our health in check we should not be exposing ourselves to store-bought vanilla extract. Instead, this all natural recipe is a perfect alternative for all these cancer-causing ingredients. You only need two ingredients and a few minutes out of your day.
This recipe is shared with permission from our friends at southernagrarian.
How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract
4 cups of 40% alcohol
We used quart jars, so the vanilla beans are weighed for the amount to be added to 4 cups of 40% alcohol. A recommended amount is one ounce per cup, but we added just a bit more than that.
The beans are sliced lengthwise using a sharp knife.
After slicing, the inside of beans are scraped with a dull knife. The black material that is scraped from the inside is called “vanilla caviar”.
Use kitchen scissors to cut the bean husks into short sections.
Vanilla beans with the caviar scraped out and the husks cut into short sections.
Add the husks and the caviar to a clean jar.
Jar with vanilla, ready to have 40% alcohol added.
Fill the jar with 40% alcohol. Vodka is the most commonly used form. My understanding is that the more times it has been distilled, the better.
After pouring, screw the lid on tight and shake it well. Put it away in a cool dark place – it needs to be kept away from light.
The jar should be shaken well once each day for at least the first week (more is better, but too much is just a waste of time). After the first couple of weeks, you can cut the shaking down to once or twice a week. After a couple of months, you can start using the vanilla extract, but letting it age for at least six months will give you better results.
When your vanilla extract has aged and you’re ready to give it away and use it in your own kitchen, pour it through a coffee filter in a funnel, then into brown bottles (the bottles and caps should be sterilized before use). We will be using 4 ounce “Boston Round” bottles that we bought on Amazon.com in a case of 12. Remember, this is a hand-made gift. That calls for a nice label to go on the bottle.
Vanilla beans can be ordered through Amazon.com
For more information on vanilla beans, go to VanillaReview.com.