Frugal Living: How to make your own Extracts

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Another HUGE money saver in my family: I make my own extracts. I only make vanilla and mint, but I’m going to try to do orange and lemon, soon too. They shouldn’t be that hard.

All you need are 3 things:

  • Container for your extract
  • Vanilla beans
  • Vodka or rum

A ratio to 1 bean to 1 cup liquor

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your vodka MUST be grain vodka-NOT potato vodka. Also, once again, you can use any type of rum.


I got my beans from Beanilla. Their website has many different varieties of vanilla beans-I just get the one that’s on sale.

So, once you have your ingredients, you split the vanilla beans open, cut them in half, put them in a mason jar, and then pour in the vodka. Close the lid, and sit it in a dark place. Shake it up every once in awhile.
Now, there’s great debate as to how long to let your extract sit. Some people say a month, some say two, some say six for full flavor. If I’m giving them as gifts, I let them sit 6 months. I, on the other hand just use it after a month of sitting.

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This stuff is liquid gold!

If you start running low, just re-fill with vodka and a vanilla bean. Ina Gartner has been using hers for TWENTY YEARS.

You can also filter the extract as you use it to strengthen it.

I bought some cheap glass bottles online a few years ago and gave the extract out as gifts-everyone loved them! Who doesn’t use vanilla extract?
You can DO this. And it will save you so much money! If you’re anything like me, you use vanilla in EVERYTHING. The cost adds up so quick! And it’s BETTER than the imitation, and in my opinion, better than the expensive stuff in the store!

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