The best way to make these is to think ahead 3 months so when you deliver them to the giftee, they can be used right away.
However, it is pretty neat to watch the vanilla get darker and darker, so when we gave these at Christmas, we put on the tag the ready date (which was Valentines day).
Good vanilla in the store is SO expensive, and you use that tiny 2oz bottle in no time at all (or at least we do) plus it is so much more than just a cake and whipped cream flavoring!
Vanilla is full of anti-oxidants, is anti-carcinogenic, an anti-anxiety aid and has an array of vitamins and minerals including the B-complex and calcium,magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Vanilla itself is a soothing scent and can be used as an aromatherapy to calm down a stressed out mama (or dad, or kid!)
God truly created all our plants with us in mind.
8oz of Vodka for every 5 beans (we got 7oz bottles so we did 4 beans per bottle)
Bottles (we did clear glass to show off the vanilla, but amber bottles arerecommended to keep out the light)
Vanilla Beans/Pods. I get mine from here because I like to know where I am sourcing my vanilla from. Price is good, but so is ethics.
I looked online at bottles, and the price was EXACTLY the same as going to Michaels, and I did not have to pay shipping. If you go on a day that has all glass 50% off, you win even more!
We don’t drink and have not had alcohol for the last 13 years, so going to the local liquor store was hilarious! I made my husband go in and while in the car, I texted two of my friends and told them where I was. I figured accountability was huge knowing I was going to have this bottle in my house. I felt better letting them know. My husband did the same thing, but sent the picture to one of our leaders. The response was hilarious!
Honestly, I put off making these for a year BECAUSE of the vodka in the house thing.
Why did we pick this bottle? It is local vodka from here in Austin Tx and my husband the graphic/web designer loved the label
Cheap vodka works too.
Start by splitting your beans in half, length-wise (I didn’t take a picture). You can also just chop the vanilla in a few pieces. I think next time we will do that because your beans have to remain covered and it is hard when they are tall. This was all for show. There are 2- 6″ beans in each of these bottles.
Pour in 7oz of vodka per bottle. This was hard because you have to leave air in the funnel or it gurgles and spills. We spilled about 5 oz all over the counter. (They are sanitized at least!). The first try I overflowed and my instinct was to slurp the top off, until the vapor hit my nose and I remember it wasn’t water!
Put lids or corks on them and leave them in a pantry or dark place for 6 weeks. Take them out and swirl or turn them upside down once a day. They are best if they sit for 3 months, but I used my bottle (the one in the front that is less than the others) after 8 weeks. When they smell and taste like extract and not vanilla flavored vodka, it is ready to use.
We made seven 7 oz bottles for $42 and had a few bags of beans leftover, which we used for Vanilla sugar and Vanilla salt as gifts as well. At the store, this much vanilla (the cheap stuff) would have been $75!
To store the opened vanilla beans, double wrap them in ziplocks, removing ALL the air. They do not last long before they dry out, so use them quickly.
Have you ever made homemade vanilla extract? Did you use vodka or bourbon?