You may not be mentally ready to start preparing for the Christmas season but now is the perfect time to start making your own vanilla! It needs to sit for 4-6 months before it’s ready so if you are interested, you better get going. Homemade vanilla extract is great to use in all your holiday baking since you know exactly what’s in it. Did you know that some store bought versions contain corn syrup!?
Homemade vanilla also makes for a very unique gift idea. Put it in a pretty bottle and give as a lovely hostess gift. I have also given these as teacher gifts in the past. Homemade vanilla extract is so easy and doesn’t take much to get going. You just need Vanilla Beans and Vodka. Yes, that’s it! Get high quality vanilla beans and a mid-range bottle of vodka. I used Deep Eddy Vodka. You will taste a difference in flavor if you use cheap ingredients, so don’t skimp!
Step 1: Start by opening up each of your vanilla beans with a knife. Just slice a line along one side (just like a green bean) and it will open it up. Make sure that the inside (beans) are exposed, the real flavor will come from there. (The beans look like a dark gritty paste). Make sure that anything that falls out of the beans all goes into the jar or glass container you are using.
Step 2: Put your whole beans into a glass jar or glass container. Add in vodka. You will need about 20 or so beans for a liter of vodka, more if you want to flavor it faster, less if you have more time for it to brew. If you want a smaller batch, try 4-6 beans for 8oz of vodka
Step 3: After you add the vodka, put a lid on the container and give it a shake. Store it in a cool dry place and give it another shake every time you see it, at least a few times a month. After about 3-4 months it will be ready use. You can also let it sit for up to 6 months for even more flavor.
Step 4: Pour your vanilla into smaller containers to give as gifts and remove the beans from the extract that has formed. You’ll be amazed at home much better the homemade kind tastes than store bought.
Have you ever made your own homemade vanilla extract before? I’d love to hear what you thought! My friend Hollie from rubigirl photography made some over the weekend and look how GORGEOUS her’s turned out. What a beautiful gift for someone.
Photo Credit: rubigirl photography