Hard to believe the holidays are just around the corner! Unfortunately, I am not a brick and mortar shopper, thank goodness for online shopping. I’m the one dragging my feet in the malls and whining “are we done yet?” To appease me (get rid of me), my family will tell me to go to the nearest bookstore (unfortunately there aren’t as many nowadays) or cookware store and they will retrieve me when they are done. So as you can imagine gift buying is not high on my bucket list of things to do. I do like giving gifts from my kitchen. This year I’ll be adding homemade vanilla extract to my holiday goodies. I am really excited. It is so simple its ridiculous. I did find beans at Costco but a good online source is Beanilla. Use the 2nd grade which is actually better for extract as the beans have less moisture in them. I used vodka since it does not impart any flavor. Rum and bourbon have been suggested but they will add their flavor to your vanilla. I made my first batch a couple of weeks before Halloween and put them in the pantry. Occasionally I take the bottles out and give them a peek and a shake. The extract will sit for about 8 weeks before I slap a cute label on them and give them to friends and family. My recipe source comes from a favorite blog Smitten Kitchen but I did find another site that described the process incredibly well, Will Cook for Friends. Worth the time reading through both. Next year I will start earlier so my tiny bottles of liquid gold can sit for longer.
- Vodka (no need to buy expensive vodka, I got mine from TJ's)
- Vanilla beans (I used bourbon madagasgar beans)
- Bottles 4 to 8 oz size (I put mine in the dishwasher, you can sterilize bottles in boiling water if you want)
- Tincture of time (Allow min of 6-8 weeks, it will have a nice brown color and should smell like vanilla not alcohol)
- I ordered glass bottles from Amazon in 5 ounce size.
- THIS IS STUPID EASY.
- Split vanilla beans lengthwise leaving the top inch unspilt (to keep the bean in one piece)
- Scrape seeds from inside the bean and reserve for bottle. This is optional. If you do not plan to strain your extract the seeds will stay in clumps so not really pretty.
- If necessary cut beans in half cross wise to fit in bottles
- Place beans in bottle or jar. I used 2 whole beans for 4 ounces of vodka
- Fill with vodka/alcohol so beans are fully submerged. Remember those cute little funnels you bought and never used? Break them out now.
- Cap and store at room temp away from light. Shake occasionally.
- It is up to you if you want to strain the extract or leave the beans in the bottle.
- Depending on when you started you now have weeks, maybe even months to design cool labels for your vanilla.
- How easy is that?