Vanilla Extract Recipe
The aroma of vanilla is beautiful on its own, and it blends so wonderfully with other natural botanicals including citrus, mint and spice essential oils. When used sparingly, it helps to balance out blends.
Steam distillation of vanilla beans does not result in a useful oil. CO2 and solvent extraction is usually necessary to obtain the precious aromatic and flavorful components. Vanilla Bean CO2 and/or Vanilla Bean Absolutes are a little costly. An alternative is to create an alcohol based extract that can be used for your water based formulations like room mists and body sprays. A wonderful recipe is shown below. If you've ever used "genuine vanilla extract" in your culinary recipes, you are already familiar with the aroma and flavor of the concentrated extract.
Another alternative is to infuse vanilla into a carrier oil (vegetable oil). Vanilla extracts last a long time, but vanilla infused vegetable oils generally have a shelf life of just a few months. If you are interested in making a vanilla infused oil, you can lean the basic concepts by visiting AromaWeb's What are Infused Oils article.
The below recipe demonstrates an easy method for creating an affordable vanilla extract that you can use for your aromatic room mists and other water-based aromatherapy recipes. Creating your own vanilla extract isn't very time consuming. You save a great deal when compared to the cost of commercial extracts, and you have more control over the quality of vanilla beans and the brand of alcohol (vodka). Commercial extracts are a bit more concentrated, but by using high quality beans, the aroma and flavor of your extract can be superior to the commercial varieties.
AromaWeb's Vanilla Room Spray Recipe is an example of an aromatherapy recipe that uses Vanilla Extract.
Vanilla Extract Ingredients
- 8 oz. clean, dark glass bottle and cap
- 7-8 fl. ounces of high proof vodka
- Muslin (available at fabric stores) for straining
- 2-3 fresh, high-quality 6" vanilla beans. They should be dark, and the bean should have consistent coloring on the entire bean.
Vanilla Extract Directions
- This extract recipe is intended to make an extract that is used in moderation for aromatic applications. It is not intended to be consumed.
- Carefully cut the vanilla beans lengthwise. Then, cut them into small pieces, about 1/4" - 1/2" in length (about 2 cm).
- Put all the vanilla pieces into the bottle.
- Then, pour the vodka into the bottle leaving enough room to shake the bottle well.
- Cap well.
- Allow the extract to sit in a dark area for 30 days, shaking the mixture daily.
- After 30 days, carefully strain the extract through the muslin fabric to remove all vanilla bean pieces and particles.
- Strain the extract through clean muslin several times.
- Re-bottle into a clean, dark glass bottle.
- Keep away from children and those that may accidentally want to drink it.
- Make aromatic lavender, chamomile and other herbal extracts (tinctures) using a similar recipe using AromaWeb's Herbal Tinctures Recipe.
General Safety Information
These recipes are offered for educational purposes only. Before using any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications.