In May I did a post about starting to make my own homemade vanilla extract. Ideally it takes close to 2 months for the alcohol and vanilla beans to work their magic so I wasn’t able to show the results right away. Now that I have the finished extract however I wanted to update you on how the vanilla extract turned out and show how I am packaging it for friends as presents. If you want to check out the making post first, click here.
The extract after just 1 week, much darker than it was originally. At this point you could just stop and use the vanilla extract but the longer you wait the better the flavor. I could really tell by constantly smelling it each week when I went to shake it what difference each weeks make. The smell of the alcohol slowly starts to turn more and more into a strong vanilla scent.
Here is the vanilla extract right before I packaged it, so dark and aromatic. Now it’s just under the 2 month mark and it’s still has a slight alcohol bitter smell to it that I was under the impression would have disappeared by now. I researched online and it appears the smell of homemade extract will not smell exactly like manufactured vanilla extract which I was use to. People suggest leaving the vanilla beans in longer than 2 months if it’s too bitter. Keep in mind it normally will not affect the overall taste of the extract as the alcohol is burned off when cooking.
A look at all the containers I thought might work wonderfully with the vanilla extract. Keep in mind that glass works best as the alcohol can leech plastic containers. As well it’s recommend the glass be tinted however if it will be spending most of its time in a cupboard I wouldn’t worry about it.
I had no issue filling up 6 containers with just one 750ml bottle of extract. I thought around 100ml containers was a good size for presents to friends and family as most people who do not bake often will take quiet awhile to go through that much extract. For myself I choose the large bottle.
Since I couldn’t leave the extract alone for the recommend two months I decided to cut up the vanilla beans I had used in the large bottle into fairly small but manageable pieces to place at the bottom of each jar. Keep in mind the vanilla beans need to be covered at all times with alcohol so I cut mine small enough to lay flat on the bottom on each the container.
After placing the vanilla beans into each container I simply closed them up and made sure the lids were secure. The easiest way to see if you containers are spill proof ahead of filling them up is to simply fill with water and laying the container on all sides, or shaking it up and check for leaks. Most of the containers I used were intended for dry spices so it’s always good to check.
I am giving my vanilla extract away as house warming presents so I also made labels. I thought of a cute name, Luna Vanilla Extract and wrote that on all my prebought labels. Other ideas for what to write on the label include listing the year/month, the name of reciever, ingredients, storing instructions, how many beans you used in the bottle (if you are testing to find a great combination), or what type of vanilla beans you used (for example I used beans from India).
Vanilla beans are reusable so if I wanted to make another batch right away all I would need to do was fill up the bottle again with more alcohol to cover the vanilla beans, shake up and start again. What I did since I only used 1 1/2 bottles for all the presents was remove the leftover beans out of the first bottle that was finished. Cut them up again so that they’d fit below the line of alcohol in the half used bottle and placed them inside. Then shook the bottle to mix everything together again and have it settle at the bottom. Next I placed the bottle back in a dark place to ruminate a bit longer.
So far haven’t had a chance to bake with it yet but going off the smell alone I think you can’t go wrong to make your own. I can’t wait to see how this next batch turns out and the great thing is that I can wait as long as I want this time so I’ll be sure to update this post with more information if I really notice a big difference between waiting more than 2 months. Hope you liked all my tips and let me know down below if you have any comments or questions!