Handmade Gift: Vanilla Extract
Chit Chat and Superman
I’m starting a new weekly series on the blog called “Handmade Gifts”. With the holiday season upon us, it’s fun to think outside the box a little with your gift giving. I tried to cover a wide range of gift options based on who the recipient is (anyone from a foodie to a beauty lover), and today I’m starting with homemade vanilla extract! I’m doing this one first so you have time to get some made prior to Christmas!
Do you know how easy it is to make homemade vanilla extract?
I almost feel stupid writing a blog post about it that could be summed up in about 3 sentences, but in case you are new to the process, allow me to explain in excessive detail.
Here is what you need:
Vodka (anywhere from 35%/70 proof to 40%/80 proof)
Vanilla beans (I have found them at Whole Foods or bought them off of Amazon)
Knife and cutting board
Time (1-3 months)
I opted to simply add the vanilla beans to the jar of vodka, but if you would like you can get a separate jar and pour the vodka into it. If you do choose a separate jar, make sure it is glass.
The ratio will vary from recipe to recipe, but I’ve found the average to be about 3-5 beans per 8 fl oz of vodka. You’ll need the right about of beans given the amount of vodka you are working with. I used about 24 ounces of vodka, and added 10 vanilla beans.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half on one side (like a hot dog bun).
You’ll see all the delicious vanilla beans inside if you spread the bean apart. This is where all the flavor comes from!
Once all the beans are sliced, drop them into the jar of vodka. Give it a good shake too.
Using a permanent marker, label the bottle with the date you made this concoction so you can gauge when it will be ready by. Anywhere from 1 to 3 months is good for the extract to get nice and strong. You’ll also want to give the bottle a good shake every few weeks, so store it somewhere out of the way, that won’t get forgotten about.
If you want to jump the gun on your packaging for your homemade vanilla extract, now is as good as a time as ever to prep your bottles! I bought a few from World Market. They have the best options for kitchen-y jars and bottles.
The paint pens were found on Amazon. They are made to work on glass, paper, wood, clay, porcelain, stone, metal and mirrors.
Have fun with your bottle decoration! Packaging is what will make this gift most special!
-If you decide to pour the extract into the individual bottles for gifts after only 1 month (for example if you decide to make this for Christmas gifts on November 25th. . .), drop a fresh vanilla bean into the bottle before you pour the extract. That will help ensure you’ll get the full vanilla flavor in the extract!
-If your bottles are smaller, it’s perfectly okay to cut the bean in half.