Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DIY Vanilla Extract: Bottling

About a year ago, Bonnie and I embarked on a journey toward DIY vanilla extract.  It has been a successfully journey so far, except in the blog department! :)

So now that we've already bottled 2 batches and are about to bottle the third, it's time for some documentation!

In the initial post, I shared the shopping list:
  • Vanilla beans (whole) - from Penzeys
    • You can also find these at World Market, Fresh Market, or numerous online sources
  • 2 oz. amber bottles - from Elwood Thompson
  • Vodka - from wherever you buy vodka
    • General ratio is 4 beans for each 750mL of liquid
  • Printable labels - we used brown kraft labels by Martha Stewart at Staples
  • Optional:  ribbon for the neck of your bottle
First, a correction:  the original post shows that we only bought 4 2 oz. bottles each.  If either of us had done the math (usually my job and I failed) we would have known we needed way more bottles than that.  We needed 10 bottles for the 750mL of vanilla we brewed.  If you want larger bottles (they come in 4 or 8 oz. but that's as large as I'd go if they are gifts), do the math :)

Once our vanilla extract had been brewing in a cool, dark place for about 90 days, during which it was shaken every time we did laundry (good way to get into the routine of doing it - thanks for the tip, Bonnie!), we got to bottling:

For bottling, you'll need a strainer and some coffee filters so that the beans don't get into the extract bottles.  If bean particles in your extract is your sort of thing, skip this step go straight to the next one.

Pour the vodka/bean mixture through the filtered strainer:

The filters may become clogged, but we just switched them out between pours and all was well.

Then use a funnel to pour extract into each bottle...

...cap them and then comes the fun part!  The labels have an online template, so we just plugged in our text, a vanilla bean jpg and turned the font to brown to match our bottles:

Once we added the labels, we added some purple gingham ribbon for a little country touch, and voila!

LOVE! :)


  1. Love our DIY Vanilla! Smells and tastes so good. :) I can't wait to bottle the next batch this weekend.

  2. I MUST drive down and beg for vanilla....I even have an empty bottle to be refilled. Kristen makes it seem fairly fool proof, perhaps I'll give it a try. Bwahahahahah you'll see me soon!

  3. why would you make your own when we can be your suppliers?! haha - we'll get you a refill :)