DIY Vanilla

There was a time, a long time ago, when I would have been happy with artificial vanilla. But today? Not a chance. Sure, real vanilla extract is more expensive, but it’s just better! It tastes better, and it makes everything you put it into taste better, as well.

So, imagine my dismay when I recently rolled into Costco to buy Vanilla and found it had more than doubled in price! What I normally pay $12-14 for was now nearly $40!

DIY Vanilla Extract

Turns out there’s a world-wide shortage of vanilla. Vanilla pods come from the pistil of a rare orchid, and they are very time- and labour-intensive to grow. High demand has lead to a shortage everywhere, causing prices to escalate.

So, I can’t afford to buy vanilla, but the prospect of going back to artificial vanilla was not appealing. So, I started doing some research: could I make my own DIY vanilla extract cheaper than it would cost me to buy it in the store?

Turns out, you can.

So, a 437 ml bottle of vanilla at Costco (which is probably the best price around) is currently $38.95.

Here’s how much it costs to make DIY Vanilla Extract: 

  • 2 Tahitian vanilla beans: $10 (Gourmet Warehouse, you can also buy it online)
  • 375 ml bottle of vodka: $15
  • 500 ml mason jar (I had)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (I had on hand as well)

So I spent $25 for 500 ml of vanilla extract–not cheap, but still much cheaper than $40!

It’s also really simple to make, but it does take time. If you start it right now, though, you’ll have to gift for Christmas presents! This stuff is getting to be more precious than bitcoin!

How are you coping with the current vanilla prices? Got any tips to share? Drop them into the comments below.

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  1. I’ve done this before, but I used more vanilla beans. We tried one batch with vodka & one with rum–I preferred the rum. Putting bourbon in sounds tasty too–I’ll have to try that next time.

  2. I’ve had 2 vanilla beans in my cabinet forever because I was very hesitant to try this, not sure why now that I see how easy it is! Thank you!!

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