Homemade Vanilla Extract,

Vanilla Extract (7)

Day 1

Little does Mr Saturday Night know, as I tap gently on my laptop, that I’ve been spending a small fortune on exotic items such as Vanilla beans, and VODKA!  All the Vices, right there..

But wait! There’s method in my madness.. Vanilla Extract is horribly expensive – this is a fact well known to any of us interested in such things. So paying £14.90 for 10 grade A vanilla beans, and £20 for a litre of Smirnoff Red is bound to be cheaper than paying £6 or so for a teensy weensy bottle, right?

Those who know me, know that hard sums are not my thing.. but everyone (ok, everyone on the Internet) says that homemade Vanilla Extract is a king to the shop-bought stuff, so it must be ok.. and anyway, I need a hobby 😉

There are a lot of differing opinions on exactly how long it should take to have your homemade Vanilla extract ready for public consumption – varying from 4 weeks to 6 months – I’ll be leaving mine for as long as I can..

I had a notion that 10 Grade A Vanilla beans would not quite make a full litre of Vanilla Extract – that would be too much of an ask, so I used about 750ml – and looked for things to use up the Vodka – and found – Orange Extract :) – see separate recipe

Job, as they say on the telly, DONE!! Exit an empty 1litre Vodka bottle into the recycling box, along with my reputation.. 😉

The details are below..(for the Vodka, not my reputation 😉 )

All the websites advise using dark-coloured bottles to make this delicious ingredient, but equally, they understand the joy of discovering that your clear liquid has turned a light brown and, in time, a darker brown colour..oh joy! I’ll certainly be looking out for small dark glass bottles when it comes to to packaging these up for – dare I say it? – Christmas presents!

** I opened the jar 10 days after the Vanilla pods started their swim – some of the pods had their heads above water, so I cut them to make sure that they were all submerged – and a little dripped off the lid, so I tasted it – rude not to, etc. – and it tastes of Vanilla already!**

So, these pictures show a 1litre Kilner jar – it’s the one I’ve used previously for Sloe Gin – with my 10 Vanilla pods, having a merry swim.

It’s 5th May in the year of the lockdown.. some updated pictures are below.. :)


Vanilla Extract (14)

5th May 2020

I’m being particularly clever here – said she modestly – as I’ve put them into my carousel cupboard, which is not only cool and dark – another requirement – but also gets spun several times a day, thus saving me the bother of having to give the jars a shake myself. I know, sometimes I amaze even myself!

Vanilla Extract:

  • 10 Vanilla Pods – best quality you can get
  • about 750mls Vodka
  • Using a sharp knife, cut along the length of each pod – exposing the beautiful Vanilla seeds.
Vanilla Extract (4)

Look at these seeds!! Gorgeous!

  • Put the split pods plus seeds, into a clean jar, add 750mls Vodka, and seal.
  • Put in a cool dark spot, and shake every couple of days.
  • After 3-6 months, remove the Vanilla pods, dry and keep them.
  • Decant the Vanilla Extract and the seeds into smaller, dark glass bottles, seal and label.
  • Do not throw out the Vanilla pods! You can reuse these to make about half as much Vanilla Extract again (cut the pods in half, so that they’re submerged in the Vodka) – it will take longer to become perfect, but you’ve got a load of it to play with, so why worry?
Vanilla Extract 21st May (1)

21st May

Vanilla Extract (7)

5th May


11th May 2020



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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