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RV Cooking: Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

| Updated Sep 11, 2020

The cost of pure vanilla extract has skyrocketed at the supermarket!  So DIY right in your RV Galley. A high-quality homemade pure vanilla extract is SIMPLE to make and FUN!

This RV Cooking Recipe is so simple – and can easily be prepared and stored in pint or quart-sized bottles that comes with the vodka, rum or bourbon used as the base for the vanilla extract.  We store our Kahlua (and now vanilla) in our RV pantry as we travel since it is a handy homemade item to share with others.

I'm posting this recipe ahead of the holidays as it takes 4 months (or more) to fully develop the vanilla into a rich decadent extract that is ready to use for baking. 

When you are ready to pour the extract into individual gift bottles I find the tall 4oz. ball jars a perfect size for the individual gift jars of the vanilla.  To fill the jars, place 1 jar in the galley sink, use a small funnel to pour the extract into the jar.  Wipe any excess drips from the exterior of the jars, screw on the the lid, and add a label “Vanilla” and the date prepared.

In addition to making vanilla extract, I have made homemade different versions of Kahlua in the same manner and bring a small jug with us to RV get-togethers to share at Potlucks. The Kahlua was a welcome treat we shared with fellow RV'ers at an campground Potluck gathering in the Porkies.  The gathering was in October during the changing of the leaves which is a breathtaking sight to see.  This is an experience I highly recommend.

At the gathering we were warmly welcomed as folks enjoyed the homemade Kahlua.  The memories created at RV gatherings are definitely memories we cherish.

The following recipe is for pure vanilla extract.  Something you can easily create and store in the RV Galley in preparation for holiday gift giving.

Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract is a great holiday gift

Having the availability of my RV Galley kitchen and the ability to easily acquire quality vanilla beans and 4 oz. Ball jars and chalkboard style labels online, made this project a snap.

Being able to share this simple homemade gift with family and friends we visit ~ made this a perfect project.  I actually doubled the recipe so that I have enough vanilla extract for my own holiday baking.

How many times have you been in a campground and become friends with folks you'd like to give a hostess gift to?             A small bottle of homemade vanilla is perfect for such an occasion.

RV Cooking Tip: It takes time for homemade pure vanilla extract

For the vanilla to reach a high enough infusion of the vanilla seeds and beans it will take a good 4 – 6 months, and more likely perfect in a year. 

I recommend grade A Whole Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans for making vanilla extract.  Although you can use a less expensive Grade B vanilla bean… I prefer the Grade A vanilla when making vanilla extract.

 This recipe has 2 ingredients and no cooking is required. (Come on…. you can do this!).

RV Cooking Ingredients for homemade pure vanilla extract

1 pint                   good quality vodka, rum, brandy or bourbon

6                           vanilla beans

photo of homemade pure vanilla extract main ingredients

RV Cooking: Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract 1

RV Cooking Directions for homemade pure vanilla extract

  1. Rinse vanilla beans, pat dry.  Cut the ends of the beans and toss them into a clean glass jar that has a lid that will seal well.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans down the center using the side of a paring knife.   
  3. Gently tease the bean pod open using the edge of the knife to expose the tiny vanilla beans. 
  4. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the side of the paring knife and transfer from the knife to a full pint-sized bottle of vodka, rum, brandy, or bourbon. 
  5. Drop the split vanilla beans in next and seal the bottle.
  6. Gently turn the bottle over a few times then store in a dark pantry area. continue to gently turn the bottles once a week as noted above.
  7. When ready to use the vanilla (4 – 12 months later), place a large measuring cup in the sink.
  8. Strain the contents of the bottle through a fine strainer or cheesecloth into the measuring cup then transfer from the measuring cup to clean 4 oz. gift jars (4oz Ball jars work well).  Label and date the jars.

My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at: http:/

Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-09-11

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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