Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homemade Vanilla

Our family goes through quite a bit of vanilla. We usually buy it it large 16 oz bottles from Sam's club and with our large family, it doesn't last as long as you'd think it would. I recently stumbled across directions for making homemade vanilla and I knew I had to try it.

I used the directions from this blog:

I bought 2 half pounds of vanilla from amazon

For some strange reason, it was cheaper to buy 2 half pounds then it was to buy a whole pound!

With shipping, I paid $51.95 for my 2 half pounds. I only needed 3/4 a pound for the vanilla so 3/4 of that total = $38.97 The quality of the vanilla is amazing. Plump and moist, not dried out twigs. With my 1/4 pound, I will be making vanilla sugar and whatever else I can think of that requires whole vanilla my favorite dessert recipe...creme brulee!

I didn't want to go buy a gallon sized jar nor did I want to recycle a pickle jar because I know from experience that it takes a long time for the pickle smell to go away! Not wanting pickle flavored vanilla, I opted to use quart sized canning jars that we already had on hand. Dividing the 3/4 pound among 5 jars, I end up with 16 beans per jar. Per the directions, I split the beans but I also had to cut them in half to get them to fit in the jar. Once filled, each jar had about an oz over the 24 oz line. So, if you wanted to make 1 jar instead of a gallon's worth, you could use 16 whole vanilla beans and just add enough vodka to pass the 24 oz mark.

Hubby purchased the vodka from Sam's Club at a cost of $11.99 per 1.75 litre bottle = $23.98 + tax = 25.66. We didn't shop around so I'm not sure how this compares to a liqueur store or walmart as suggested by the original blog.

Vanilla beans + vodka = 64.63 for 1 gallon (128 oz) of premium homemade vanilla.

That brings the cost to approx 50 cents an ounce but NOT including the little amber bottles that I would have to buy to gift the vanilla. Now I just have to wait 6 months before I can try it!!

Ultimately, this little project does not save me money over warehouse pricing BUT I am positive that the quality will be much better. Is does beat grocery store vanilla prices and it's WAY cheaper then the cost of premium vanilla. And I think it makes a really neat gift especially when transferred to those cute bottles with pretty homemade labels. Oh and we definately will be gifting some. Vanilla stays good forever but I would rather share then have our own lifetime supply! :D