Essential oils carry the fragrance and the life force of the herb or plant; you can use them to make homemade soaps, massage oils, body lotions and aromatherapy items at home. To make vanilla essential oil at home, use organic vanilla pods and the hot or cold infusion method for a potent oil. Store the vanilla essential oil in a 4-ounce, dark-colored glass bottle to protect it from ultraviolet rays, in a cool, dark place, and your oil can last up to a year. Use vanilla essential oil as an antispasmodic, antioxidant and antidepressant or as a fragrant oil in a burner.
Things You'll Need
- 16 ounces of organic coconut, safflower or jojoba liquid oil
- 3 to 5 large organic vanilla beans
- Sharp knife
- 16-ounce canning jar with tight lid
- Double boiler
- Wooden spoon
- Jug or bowl
- 4-ounce brown or cobalt blue glass storage bottle with tight-fitting lids
- Jar labels
Add three to five organic vanilla pods sliced thin to the 16-ounce canning jar.
Pour 16 ounces of organic coconut, safflower or jojoba oil into the jar. Tighten the lid onto the jar.
Set the jar with the oil and vanilla pods on a shelf in the sun. Write the date you combined the ingredients on the lid of the jar.
Wait two months for the cold infusion to work.
Pour the liquid ingredients into a bowl or jug covered with cheesecloth dipped a bit inside the container and fitted securely with string or a rubber band around the rim.
Discard the vanilla pods after squeezing them between the layers of the cheesecloth.
Add a funnel to the small glass storage bottle and fill it with the essential oil. Tighten the lid and label the jar with the ingredients and the date before storing it in a cool, dark place.
Set the double boiler on the stove and add water to the bottom half of the boiler. Set the heat to high until the water boils. Turn down the heat once it boils, and add the second pan atop the simmering water.
Cut up the vanilla pods into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch sized pieces as you heat the water.
Add 16 ounces of your chosen organic oil to the top of the double boiler and sprinkle the vanilla pods into the oil. Mix them into the oil with a wooden spoon.
Heat the concoction for three hours, as the water gently simmers.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth fitted securely to the rim of a bowl with a rubber band or string. Once the oil has passed through and the ingredients have cooled so that you can touch them, squeeze the ingredients left in the cheesecloth to extract the remaining oils into the bowl.
Pour into a clean, airtight 4-ounce or larger brown or dark-colored bottle with an airtight lid. Label the bottle with the ingredients and date, and store in a dark, cool place, such as in a pantry or cupboard for up to one year.
Tips & Warnings
- Don’t overheat the vanilla if you use the hot method; you want a gentle three-hour simmer to thoroughly infuse the oil with the vanilla.
- If waiting two months takes too long for the cold infusion method, make a tincture instead. Replace the oil with ratio of 4 ounces of rum or vodka and 12 ounces of water, and store the jar in a cool place for two weeks, occasionally shaking the jar before filtering through cheesecloth and storing in a dark-colored jar.
- You can also use the essential oil as a flavoring in food if you used coconut or safflower oils.
- Wait until the hot oil cools before squeezing the cheesecloth with your hands to avoid burns.
- Label the storage bottle with the ingredients for anyone who might be allergic to its contents.