Homemade vanilla extract is really simple to make and a great alternative to pricey store bought vanilla or imitation vanilla (which I hear is made from paper mill run off or coal tar). These cute bottles paired with a nice label also make really great gifts.
When I first started trying to simplify my life by eliminating wasteful spending and improve my health by eating whole foods, it became apparent that I could only do both of these things if I found ways to make some of the things that I would ordinarily buy.
I was surprised by how easy most things are to make. As it turns out, I really enjoy being more of a producer and less of a consumer.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
What you will need:
24 vanilla beans
6- 4oz amber glass jars
1- 750ml bottle of vodka
What you do:
Wash the bottle with soap and hot water.
Cut the vanilla beans in half or quarters and stuff them into the bottles (about 4 whole beans per 4 oz bottle).
Cap them and shake them up (you will probably see some vanilla seeds floating around in there).
Let them sit in a cool dark place for about 6 weeks, shaking the bottle every few days.
Make yourself a drink from the leftover vodka :)
The vanilla beans will last indefinitely (the alcohol preserves them) as long as they are covered by alcohol. So, just keep adding vodka! It might be a good idea to have 2 or 3 bottles in rotation so you can always have some vanilla while the others are soaking.
Have you ever made vanilla extract? What is your favorite thing to make at home instead of buy in the store?