Vanilla extract used to be affordable. "Used to be" being the operative phrase here. I could go to the grocery and purchase a little bottle for about a dollar. All of a sudden, it's $30 for about twelve ounces!
It has become time to make my own.
When you make homemade vanilla, it's a perpetual product. By that I mean you purchase the beans once and you're done buying beans. It's not a joke.
Purchase ten vanilla beans. I paid $30 for ten beans so it is a one-time investment. Buy a 750ml bottle of vodka. With the vodka, you can get as expensive a bottle as you like, but I stayed to the less expensive brand, mostly because I had a bottle already opened, but still about full. Then drop in the vanilla beans and put the bottle in a cupboard for six months. At the end of the six months, you'll have vanilla extract.
You don't have to use the alcohol bottle. You can put this in a Mason jar or any airtight container, but it should be glass. And airtight. Airtight is important. I chose to keep it in the booze bottle just because I did. No real reason.
This is how the perpetual part comes into play. You'll need a smaller bottle to decant whatever amount you feel is appropriate for your usage. After you decant the portion for use, top off the vodka in the steeping bottle and set it back on the shelf for another six months or more.
The vanilla beans will keep flavoring the alcohol for years and years. As I write this post, a famous chef has said her vanilla beans have been active for twenty-five years!
I may not live another twenty-five years. I hope my young cousins will keep it going.
The Lady of Holly Tree Manor