Homemade Vanilla Extract

There are some days when I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I feel overwhelmed and spread too thin between work (which is so busy lately), side projects, writing this blog, trying to read blogs… I feel behind and that’s hard for me.

And then I go into my kitchen and cook or bake, and somehow the world feels right again.

We live in a world that’s filled with intangible goods, and getting myself covered in flour, losing myself to the rhythmic sounds of chopping, focusing all my senses on something physical I’m creating feels amazing.

I’m drawn to doing things from scratch. I don’t have my own plot of land to grow fruits and vegetables, but I can buy strawberries and make jam, or take those vanilla beans and turn them into a heavenly vanilla extract. I have to start somewhere, and starting with those basic flavors and ingredients makes me appreciate the finished product even more later.

How do you right your world when it feel a bit upside down?

For homemade vanilla extract: Split one vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into a 1-cup jar with lid. Toss the vanilla bean in there too. Heat 3/4 cup of vodka on the stove until it boils. Watch it — vodka disappears fast when you’re heating it. Pour into jar and let it cool to room temperature. Screw the lid on and store on the shelf for a week, shaking it once a day. In seven days, you’ll have vanilla extract you can boast that you’ve made yourself.




  • Ren Lady Of The Arts

    That is definitely something I haven’t tried yet- thanks for the inspiration.

  • Dancing Branflake

    Brandi, you are a domestic goddess, you know that right? We need to chat soon. I miss you!

  • Gloria

    Oh how perfect – I just ran out of vanilla extract! Excited to try this

  • {be merry} kate

    I may have to take this up as a stress reliever. If nothing else, shaking up a tasty-smelling mason jar once a day sounds relaxing.


  • Julie [FerociousOstrich]

    mmm this sounds great. Cooking definitely centers me, too–except if I’m having a bad day, I most often end up baking cookies, which obviously ends with me eating cookies…in embarrassing amounts. Lately I’ve been trying to lay off the cookies…and the bad days ;)

  • Dyan

    i see what you mean in that sometimes you need the physical act of going something to feel right again (love that – to feel right). It’s very methodical and calming to work with your hands (not always i know). For me, working in the yard does it for me. Pulling weeds, watering, all of that.

  • Alex

    I feel like you say these days… I’m not great cooking, so I go into gardening, to bury my hands in the groundmakes me forget everything else. And last year I’ve started knitting, that helps too!
    I hope you’re doing right!

  • rooth

    What a lovely DIY – I’m so lazy that I go with the store bought kind every time. Sigh, can you lend me your skills?

  • Samanthaa

    amazing recipe- similarly, i feel much better when i am at the grocery store buying the things i need to make a meal. must be something about food that coaxes us into blissful unconsciousness.


  • Meli (Blush + Jelly)

    When things get rough I always love to bake. I don’t have much time for baking these days but when I am about to lose it I decide some quality time in the kitchen makes it all better. Not sure why but it really works.

  • Amy@OldSweetSong

    I am so doing this. I was just thinking I wanted to buy some nice, good quality vanilla extract. But now, I can make my own. And we both know that’s always the winning route. xo

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