Do you use vanilla? In baking? In smoothies? I use it all the time. We add it to our smoothies in the morning. I add it to cakes/biscuts/slices. I add it to homemade bliss balls or honey granola!
I previously used vanilla essence – it was cheaper.
ie Queen flavouring – natural vanilla essence = $3.98 / 50 mL
Queen imitation flavouring – vanilla essence = $1.50 / 100mL (or $0.75 / 50mL !!!) Yes, cheap.
Ancor food flavouring – vanilla essence = $2.00 / 250mL (or $0.40 / 50 mL !!!) Even cheaper!
Then I had a look at the ingredients – Water, cane sugar, vanilla flavours, caramel colour (150(d)). I was starting to try and avoid additives in food so that my children can really taste the true flavours and see the true colours of real food, and also see what actually went into their food. So I began to purchase Vanilla Extract.
Now this has been expensive the last few years. I’ve been buying 50mL Vanilla Extract for $12! The cheapest I’ve found online is $9 for 100mL which is A LOT cheaper, but has water added, and it’s not organic. Vanilla is something with such a strong flavour and such a long shelf life, and something I use daily so I choose organic.
So I looked at the ingredients list on the vanilla extract I was buying:
3. Vanilla pod and extracts of vanilla pods.
And then made ….
Homemade Vanilla Extract
1. Gather the ingredients – 5 Vanilla Beans + a bottle of Vodka.
I used ‘local’ organic vanilla beans from Beach Organics in Middleton, South Australia.
See address below – you can order any of their products online – they also have coconut palm sugar, cacao butter, herbs & spices, sea salt, local honey…
I used a bottle of vodka that I just added to my home delivered grocery order. It cost my $38 for a 700mL bottle.
2. Get out 5 vanilla beans, and with a sharp knife, slit each of them open lengthwise
See picture below.
3. Pop the split vanilla beans into the bottle of vodka.
And you’re done! It’s that easy!
Put the bottle of homemade vanilla extract in your dark pantry next to something you see everyday (like your butter, or spices, or salt and pepper) so that you remember to give it a gently shake every day (for about a week), then just give it a gentle shake whenever you see it or remember too, to disburse the vanilla extract through the vodka. Leave it for a couple of months ( or 6 or 7 months!! depending on how concentrated you want the extract to be) before putting into smaller bottles.
I pour the homemade vanilla extract into my bought vanilla extract 50mL bottles (I kept them all… for some reason!), and I pop an extra vanilla bean into it, for “continuing maturity” (that’s what it says on the back of my bottle of purchased Equagold Pure Vanilla Extract). This vanilla bean can stay in the little bottle indefinitely, you just keep topping the bottle up with your homemade vanilla extract.
I stick a “Hayley’s Homemade – Vanilla Extract” sticker on the bottles and give them away for presents and keep a couple topped up in my pantry for every day use.
Now this recipe cost me …
1. I bought Skyy Vodka, a 700mL bottle for $38 from Foodland (I don’t know whether that’s expensive or cheap.. I don’t buy Vodka all that often.. actually at all!!!) = $2.70 / 50mL
2. Beach Organics – organic vanilla beans, a bag of 10 for $20. = $2 per organic vanilla bean
(… at local supermarkets they are usually around $4 / 5g = usually only 1 vanilla bean … you can find them cheaper at large fruit and vege stores and markets …)
So for each 50mL bottle of vanilla extract, I’m paying less than $4.70 (compared to $12) … it’s less than this because there is definitely not a whole $2 vanilla bean / 50mL of extract, AND I’ve been topping up with a bit of water to make it go further.
I hope that you are able to try this in your own kitchen. Imagine never having to buy vanilla extract or flavouring again because you make your own. TOO easy. SO much cheaper the buying Vanilla Extract. Also, it’s a much healthier option vs Vanilla Essence or Flavouring.
ADDIT !!! A reader just sent a comment in (see below) about another supplier of organic vanilla beans – Sunshine Vanilla – who sell organic vanilla beans in bulk – you can get them for under a $1 each (if you buy 60 of them for $50) … you can make it NOW for EVERYONE for Christmas this year!!!! Thanks Tanya!