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Homemade vanilla extract is probably one of the easiest ingredients to make in your own kitchen, and it doubles as an excellent gift!
Several years ago, I made vanilla extract as a gift for family and friends and it was a huge hit. I had been making it for my own kitchen for some time, but thought it would be a useful gift. It is super simple to put together and it looks so elegant!
The Process of Vanilla
The process is easy. I buy a bottle from Costco (a giant bottle – Costco-sized of course – that always garners funny looks from looky-lou’s, but it last me years!).
The ratio is 4-6 vanilla beans per 8 oz of vodka. This of course depends on the size of the vanilla beans and how strong you want your vanilla extract.
Using a sharp knife, slice the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the bottle you will be using for your extract. Add the seed pods in as well.
I have a neat old-looking rum bottle (that I had also used for making vanilla extract with), or you can use smaller decorative bottles if you are using it as a gift.
Vanilla Extract does take time…think ahead!
Pour the vodka over the vanilla beans and store in a dark place out of direct sunlight. Be sure and shake it up once a week for 6-8 weeks. Homemade vanilla extract gets better with age, so it will get richer the longer you store it.
I like to keep two bottles on hand, as I use my current homemade vanilla extract, I pour that into a smaller bottle and start another batch in the larger bottle.
For a gift, you can find some cute bottles with corks (I believe I found mine on a craft website). Bottle it up several weeks ahead of time so it has that beautiful amber color by the time you gift it to your friends and family!
- 8-12 Vanilla Beans
- 16 oz Vodka
- Empty glass bottle
- Slice vanilla beans lengthwise
- Scrape out seeds into bottle
- Add seed pods to bottle
- Pour vodka over the vanilla seeds
- Seal and store in dark place
- Shake once a week for 6-8 weeks (longer for stronger flavor!)
Looking for more DIY projects? Check out my rustic mirror tutorial!