Homemade Vanilla Extract

Last year I started a seasonal feature called Homemade Christmas. I whipped up a number of projects for family members and friends and had high hopes of continuing the homemade theme for this year’s Christmas. Sadly, with a new baby I’m not seeing many crafting days in my future. But, I did begin one project prior to Max’s arrival.
I’m finding in life that I have so many things. Things I don’t need. When it comes to gifts, I really appreciate the ones that are either consumable or focused on making memories. I’m assuming many of my friends are in the same boat. So, for friend gifts this year I was inspired by Anktangle’s Make Your Own Vanilla Extract tutorial.
Everyone uses vanilla (I mean, unless you’re someone who doesn’t bake cookies … which is an awful shame) and making your own is a breeze. Plus, any gift that can be wrapped up canning jar is worth giving.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Purchase a box of 8 ounce canning jars (12 total), 1 liter of vodka, and an 1/8 pound of vanilla beans
  • Open all the jars and place in a row
  • Grab a cutting board and lay out vanilla beans
  • Gently split beans open careful not to cut all the way through
  • Cut beans in half so they fit into the jars and place 4 vanilla bean sticks in each jar
  • Fill jar with vodka
  • Secure canning jar lids and store in a cool, dark place for 6+ weeks
  • Over the 6+ weeks the vanilla beans will infuse with the vodka and significantly darken in color, it’s ready to use when it has a dark amber hue
  • I’m planning to add some cute labels, a ribbon, and a recipe or two that calls for vanilla. Consumable gift complete! 

The best part about this gift is that once the vanilla extract is gone, simply refill with vodka and allow the beans to seep for another 6+ weeks. I guess this means I’ll be giving vanilla extract this year and bottles of vodka next year so everyone can refill their jars :) Merry Christmas and happy baking!

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