Home Made Vanilla Extract


Home Made Vanilla

I looooove vanilla.  I love vanilla beans. I don’t love how expensive they are (8.00 for one freaking bean?! I think not).  So, I started hunting around to see if there was a cheaper way around this.  That, plus store-bought vanilla extract makes me pretty sick (oh look, another thing to add to the list lol).   There must be some wierd preservative in it, because within minutes my heart is pounding, I have a splitting headache and I’m K.O.’d for about 3 hours after… Good times… lol.  (How do I know this?  I knew for sure when I thought I’d be a big hero and add an entire capful of the stuff to my single serving of gluten free, oat free ‘oatmeal’ to crank it up a notch. Oh I got cranked alright.)

The interesting thing is, I don’t react to the beans themselves (relief!).  Just the extract.  But, vanilla beans are bloody expensive.  I got all sleuthy and decided to see where  I could get them cheap… I found a Canadian distributor, Vanilla Food Company that sells them for 59$ a pound (about 100 beans)  and an American distributor, Saffron.com that sells them for 45$ a pound (but sometimes there’s extra$ for delivery… as I discovered…).

Either way, less than 1.00 per bean suits me just fine!

I started imagining how cool home made vanilla would be for christmas gifts….  So I hunted around and found a few blogs that feature recipes for it like this one- at Tipnut .  From that, I made my own version… Here it is!

Here we go…

Home Made Vanilla Extract


11 Replies to “Home Made Vanilla Extract”

  1. Thanks Alea, that’s helpful! I don’t like to take risks but I also don’t want to miss out on things where the risks are extremely small…sounds like this might be one that is ok :)

  2. Hi there Bumble Bee-

    I got some advice from the canadian celiac association a while back about issues with cross contamination- i wanted to know how far to go with ensuring product safety. At the time, they advised that the important thing was that the product was packaged on a gluten free production line (not a line that was ‘washed’ after carrying gluten containing products). I think the important part of the response from the vanilla bean company is that they were really great about explaining their process- while the beans are not officially certified, they are indeed produced on a gluten free line which is the most important part. I think legally they need to make sure to say they are not ‘officially’ certified.

    That being said, there are some celiacs that are sensitive to gluten in parts even smaller than 5 parts per million (currently i believe certification is for 20 parts per million), so in terms of your personal sensitivity, i don’t entirely know what might be the best choice other than to pass along the info i’d gotten from the CCA here in Canada.

    Hope this helps! :)

  3. Hi Alea,

    I was very excited to hear that you can get a pound of vanilla beans for $59 from The Vanilla Food Company! I contacted them to ask about gluten cross contamination and here is the response I got:

    “Our vanilla beans are gluten free however we do not have the certification
    on the beans. Secondly we cannot guarentee that there would not be any
    cross contaimination with any other wheat, rye, etc even though we do not
    carry any flour or have production lines.
    We do have some products that are gluten free that we carry in it’s
    orginial package. These types of items, we would be confident that there
    would be no cross contaimination.”

    What is your take on this? We are super careful with cross contamination in our house and I just don’t get a warm and fuzzy from this response. I want to buy them so badly!

  4. Hi Sonya- no kidding about the corn and vodka!

    I find my favorite version for vanilla is to make it from bourbon or from tequila, although making it from rum is also terrific- its a good thing its such a versatile recipe se we can change up the alcohol base to something thats safe depending on our guts :D
    so great to hear from you :)

  5. hi there Natasha!

    wow, thank you so much for the terrific comment :D you made my day!!

    For making home made vodka- i think you can use just about any hard liquor- so, i think tequila could work for you since its made from the agave plant. Deep down i’m convinced there’s sulfites or something in the vanilla products- because my home made vanilla is just fine for me… gotta wonder what they put in there eh?

    And you can write long comments any time you’d like :D it puts a big grin on my face :D

  6. Hi, I haven’t commented here before, but this post compelled me to pipe in. I also LOOOOVVVVEEEE vanilla, and I ALSO get very sick from store bought vanilla! I’ve tried vanilla extract, vanilla paste, organic vanilla extract, etc- and they all knock me out. And, like you, I don’t react to the bean itself, so it’s something in the extract.

    One day, I finally decided that it must be the alcohol used in the commercial vanilla extracts. The alcohol is either derived from wheat or corn (or potato, in the case of vodka)- and I’m sensitive to all 3 of those ingredients. My guess is that it is corn-derived, because that’s the ingredient I REALLY seem to react to, no matter how minute, or how processed it might be. But- that’s just a guess. I do not know for sure what’s in those extracts.

    Anyway, I don’t know if that is useful to you : ) I am very curious how you do with your homemade extract. I’ve been afraid to try it since I’ve wondered if it was the alcohol that was giving me problems. But if a homemade version works for you, I might try it too. Maybe it IS some strange preservative in the commercial stuff.

    Sorry for the long comment :) I just felt like I was reading about my own life in your post!

  7. I make my own extract out of necessity as well. I started following your blog because you’re corn free, among other foods, as am I since April. Just wanted to let you know most vodka is made from corn. (Isn’t it amazing how many places corn is found!) I use a potato vodka from Maine for my extracts since potatoes are OK for me.

  8. Hi there Lana!

    Thanks so muc hfor the great tip on another bean company to order through… I find its a real challenge getting decent prices, and sometimes buying that many beans really isn’t needed, so your tip is super.. and for leaving otu the sugar, I never realized it would work jsut as well without it- good to know for my next batch! :)

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