Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DIY Vanilla

Every oleh has that one purely frivolous and completely unnecessary product that they still import from the Old Country.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

{looks around hopefully for some nodding heads but then remembers that bloggers can’t actually SEE their readers…}

It’s nothing that you actually NEED. And you realize that you could either manage perfectly well without it or else switch to the Israeli equivalent.

But so far, it hasn’t come to that.

Because thanks to the kind efforts of your friends and family in the Diaspora, you still have a ready source for the product, and so you haven’t yet had to make alternate arrangements.

(In our case, that product is American colored sprinkles - for recipes such as these nameless bars. How about you?)

But if your relatives have been sending you vanilla extract*, now’s the time to tell them to stop.

*Note: Vanilla extract is widely available here in Israel. But the thing is that it’s rather expensive… </note>

I mean, if you do a search for “homemade vanilla,” you’ll discover that over a million and a quarter websites claim that there’s nothing to it.

And surprisingly, they all happen to be right…


Homemade Vanilla Extract


  • 1 liter vodka
  • 4 vanilla beans, cut up


Drop the vanilla beans into the bottle of vodka. Close bottle, and store in a cool, dark spot for a month (or two or three or however long it takes you to finally go out and buy an appropriate small glass bottle). Strain vanilla and pour into a smaller bottle. (Leave the rest in the larger bottle together with the vanilla beans.) Enjoy!

IMG_1327A bottle of vodka with vanilla beans inside

IMG_3588 Several months later

IMG_3602 Straining the vanilla with a coffee filter and a funnel

IMG_3639 The finished product

Do you make your own vanilla extract?


  1. Cool. Will you be upset if I try this without actually making Aliyah? It's expensive here, too, especially when it gets used by boys who make chocolate cake and don't note the price.

  2. Do I make my own extract, you ask? You bet your sweet bippy I do.

  3. Leora - Let me know how it comes out, if you decide to try it.

    Miriyummy - I had a feeling that you do... :-)

  4. vanilla beans are expensive in Israel - around 7 shekels each. I sell them 6 beans for 22 shekels, including shipping anywhere in the country.
    Contact me at LeahGabrielle at Gmail dot com.

  5. Thanks, Leah. That's good to know.

  6. Anyone drink the stuff straight for the vodka kick? The standard base is alcoholic, which, i became aware can cause "kashruth" problems for Muslims. I noticed that Trader Joe's sells a non-alcoholic vanilla extract. I believe it is distilled in glycerin and does not have hashgacha.

  7. I love practical tips, so I linked to this post.

  8. Ariella - Interestingly, this bottle of vodka is even kosher for Pesach. (The vanilla beans are a different story...)

  9. I have never made vanilla extract. I just use vanilla-(naturally)flavored sugar.
    This seems like a lot of extract, do you use it often?

  10. Ilana-Davita - You're right. A liter of vanilla extract lasts a VERY long time, but it's nice that we can be very generous when using it... :-)

  11. You asked -- Anyone drink the stuff straight for the vodka kick? Try a splash of the stuff in your next glass of orange juice. Orange Julius Screwdriver!

  12. Miriyummy - LOL! And thanks for answering Ariella's question above!

  13. Vodka?? gotta make sure my wife doesnt have any

  14. Y W - Welcome back to the blog!


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