I have been thinking of making vanilla extract for a while, but it wasn't until I started making ice-cream, which required a tablespoon of vanilla and I quickly emptied the little bottle that I had bought years earlier, that I saw the need to make it in bulk.
Vanilla extract is very easy to make, and if you do use large amounts of vanilla, its probably worth doing. All you need is dried vanilla pods and vodka or another spirit of your choice. Just split the vanilla pods and put them in a jar with the spirit, give it a shake occasionally, and when it smells right, its ready to use, just decant the liquid into another jar, and add more vodka. Or leave it even longer for a stronger extract.
after six weeks
I like making my own because I know exactly what is in it. I bought organic fair-trade vanilla pods and used 8 pods in 200 mL of vodka. I chose an expensive brand of vodka. The vanilla extract that I usually buy contains sugar, so the one I made doesn't smell as sweet, but that allows me to control the sugar content of my food more easily as well.
Have you made vanilla extract? Would you like to try?