Thursday, June 14, 2012


Last week I was reading Alison's blog and she had posted about making vanilla extract. I thought how much I'd love to do that but not having a ready supply of vanilla ( I only have one pod left from our trip to Tonga) and the sheer price of the stuff here, I thought I didn't have a hope of being able to make some any time soon.

Fast forward to last night, and we were over at Dan's ( diving buddy) for dinner. His job is sailing all over the world, sometimes doing guided tours and sometimes doing boat deliveries. Suffice to say he gets around a bit. We were just finishing up dinner and he appeared with hand-fulls of dried vanilla pods. "Who wants some?" He'd picked it up on one of his travels.

Well, you had to hold me back! Myself and another friend, Danny ( who is the most amazing chef) almost knocked Dan over in our enthusiasm!
I came home clutching many, many vanilla pods, and I can't thank Dan enough.

So, now I can make some vanilla extract. I'm going to follow Alison's recipe, which is

Vanilla Extract
  • 1 bottle of vodka (40%)
  • 1 dark coloured bottle with tight lid
  • vanilla beans (recipes vary on amount, most say 3-6 per cup so I went 5 per cup)
Split your vanilla beans in half lengthwise (you can leave them attached at the tip) to release the seeds. If you are using a smaller bottle, cut the beans to a smaller size so they fit your jar.
Stuff the vanilla beans in your jar and fill with vodka. Give the bottle a couple of good shakes and then pop in a cool dark spot. Take your bottle out and shake once or twice a week for the next couple of months. Then shake as you remember.
Once you have hit six months, the vanilla extract will be ready to use.

I have copied this word for word so all credit goes to Alison. 

I will need to go and buy some vodka - Lloyd and I are not great drinkers, but I'm so excited!

Thank you Alison, for the inspiration and thank you, Dan for the vanilla. One happy bunny.


  1. Wow, how serendipitous is that? Which reminds me, I'd better go and shake lucky are we?

  2. I know :) Happy shaking!

  3. Sounds fabulous!

    When we lived in Fiji, the local spirits were overproof, came in large glass bottles and were quite 'raw' in flavour. Another ex-pat shared with us, that to make these spirits taste so much better - split a vanilla bean and put it in the bottle and 'trying' to leave it for six months. Did this with the local Fijian rum, vodka and whiskey ... and six months later they tasted like exotic liqueurs. We also found out that many of the expensive resorts were doing this and selling the drinks as 'special' liqueurs.

    1. They sound lovely. I have a friend who makes her own spirits - I'm not sure how she does it but Lloyd said we have the water thingy you need at the dental practice!! maybe I should put it to a more practical use!! I think she uses potatoes or something?!

  4. Anonymous11:39 pm

    A winery my husband was working at got a visitor from a local who grew it Organically, and the husband was nice enough to remember my enthusiasm for all things cullinary and brought me some pods is so dear though but so high maintenance to grow and perpare you can understand why.

    1. We saw it being grown in Tonga when we visited, and watched the ladies turn tables full of pods as they were drying in the sun. They had to wear white gloves and the smell was out of this world. I thought that as we were subtropical up here it may grow, but it needs to be in a greenhouse :(

  5. When you've scraped some of the seeds out of the pods for various recipes push the scraped sticks into jars of sugar, then you will have Vanilla Sugar for baking with at no extra cost and it keeps for ages!

    Sue xx

    1. I do that :) I have a separate container with my vanilla sugar in it. In fact some recipes I looked at said I could use the vanilla sugar in the tablet

  6. Oh my goodness Laura! What an amazing gift!!! I can't wait to read about how your lovely vanilla turns out :)

    1. wasn't it - i felt SO lucky. And I havent made it yet, cos we keep forgetting to buy vodka!!


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Laura x