27 May 2016

Vanilla Simple Syrup – Get More Out of Those Beans

vanilla-moreDo you make your own vanilla extract? I do, too.  Have some brewing right now.  (This is how I made it.)

Making vanilla extract is easy, cost effective, and I know for sure what's in it.  Even though I let the vanilla steep for weeks, even months, the used bean pods are still so fragrant when I remove them from the extract.  I hate to even throw those "scraps" away!

So I don't.  I put them to work for me again.

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of putting spent vanilla bean pods in sugar.  Sounds like a good idea, though I've never tried it.  I thought about it, but then decided to take a different route.  Instead, I made vanilla syrup.

It was so simple.  As in, simple syrup.  Gather equal parts of water and sugar.  (I used a cup of each.) Mix them together in a pot on the stove.  Throw in your spent vanilla bean pods.  Bring it all to a boil, and let it roll until the sugar is dissolved.  It won't take long.  Remove from heat, and let it all steep for a while.  I basically just let mine cool completely.  Maybe an hour.

Remove bean pods from your newly made vanilla syrup.  (I guess you can dispose of them now, unless you have a way to use them further.) Store syrup in a jar in the fridge.  Not sure how long it will last; been using mine for weeks.

My favorite way to use the vanilla syrup is over fruit.  Oh, is it good.  Makes humble fruit taste delectable.  I usually spoon it over sliced strawberries.  (And maybe, if I have it, add a dollop or two of whipped cream.) Just the other day, I poured lightly drizzled some sweet vanilla syrup over a bowl full of blueberries and diced apple. Mmmm…I could drool right now.


I have also used it in place of vanilla extract.  I'm sort of "in between" brews right now.  My new batch could be used, but it would be better if I waited.  The vanilla syrup worked great.  Certainly not as strong as the real stuff, but was just fine in a pinch.

Let me share this with you, too.  This is an image of the underside of the lid I use to cap the jar of vanilla syrup.  I usually give the jar a shake before drizzling or taking a teaspoon.  Can you see all the vanilla? I was really surprised at how much still came out after those beans had been steeping for months,  making extract.  So glad I didn't waste it!


Do you extend the life of your "spent" vanilla beans? How so? I'd love to hear your ideas and experiences.

Shared at Freedom Fridays, Simple & Sweet Fridays, Happiness is Homemade, Tuesdays with a Twist, Coffee and Conversation, Monday of Many Blessings, and Tasty Tuesdays.

From my mountaintop to yours!


  1. This is really timely because last year there was an awful harvest of vanilla and the organic Bourbon one which I use has consequently gone up in price. I do use the vanilla sugar method - I put the pods in to my sugar container after I have used them for an infusion, such as for ice cream. However I will certainly try your method - I make ice cream all the time and this syrup sounds really useful, I will however make it as I need it as I have no fridge. I did once try to grow the vanilla orchid but although it did quite well at the start I finally lost it, plus the method of processing sounded complicated to say the least!! All the very best from near sea level in la baie de Mont Saint Michel and thanks, Sue

    1. I have used it a lot, Sue. Hope it works for you whenever you might need it. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!


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