- Keep track of what you toss in your mother jar, so when it turns out great you will know how to duplicate it. (Or, if it turns out bad you'll know how to avoid doing it again!)
- While we don't recommend mixing spirits in high volume, it is certainly OK to toss vanilla beans in that were used in extracts with different spirits. You might have a Madagascar bean that was in rum and a Tahitian bean that was in vodka. It's OK to mix those. We just recommend using a single type of spirit to fill the jar.
- Let your mother jar rest for at least six months, but once you start using it, you can toss in more beans as you have them or top off your spirit without disrupting the overall taste. So you can simultaneously use and refill your mother jar.
- Think about how you will get your extract out of the the mother jar when you're ready. Since it's a big jar, you can't just pour it out on a teaspoon. You will need a small kitchen jar to fill for everyday use.
- Beans have extract value for a very long time. We have seen mother jars with the original beans that are 10+ years old.
- It's good practice to clean out your mother jar once or twice a year by pouring your extract through a strainer or a coffee filter, but not necessary. The alcohol will ensure food safety and freshness.
- Buy a mother jar bigger than what you need. Just because you have a big jar, it doesn't mean you need to fill it 100% of the way to the top. The alcohol just needs to cover the beans. As you add more beans over time, add more alcohol. You will be surprised how fast it grows.
- Instead of 1 huge mother jar, you may want 4-5 medium sized mother jars to have 4-5 different experiments taking place.
- Have fun! You may want to drop in a cinnamon stick for a month, or cocoa nibs and coffee beans for a month to add a mocha flavor. The mother jar is more art than science. It becomes a reflection of your own unique tastes. Make it yours and have fun.
Here is a video tutorial on making your own mother jar:
Here are a few Mother Jar posts from our VanillaPura Pros in our private Facebook group so you can see real mother jars in action:
Most importantly, we'd love to hear about your creative blends! Share them with us so we can share them with our global VanillaPura family!
Visit our comprehensive extract-making guide center for more essential extract making tips and ongoing education.