Vanilla Extract: Kaua'i Style

Vanilla pods growing on trees in Kaua'i Hawaii.

Vanilla Extract: Kaua'i Style

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Want to make your own vanilla extract? We learned this while touring Lydgate Farms Chocolate Plantation in Kaua’i, where the vanilla pods grow wrapped around the base of Song of India trees, and the blooms are hand-pollinated.

With that kind of care and attention, isn’t it worth making your own vanilla from the fruits of their labor?

Read about our tour of Lydgate Farms here.

Photo: Paul K. Logsdon.


  • 1 pint vodka or other alcohol (rum or bourbon recommended, if not vodka)
  • 1 pure vanilla bean


  • 1 Place vanilla bean in bottle of drinking alcohol.
  • 2 Seal, and wait three months—we suggest you label the bottle with the date, place it in a cupboard, and mark your calendar.
  • 3 Note: You can leave it longer than three months; in fact, the longer you leave it, the higher the alcohol content in the vanilla and the stronger the flavor. You may want to test it periodically to get it to the flavor you want for use in baking.


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