Friday, November 2, 2012

Homemade Gifts: Vanilla Extract

Ok, fair warning, I'm about to be one of those annoying people that bring up a certain holiday that is still months away.

Still reading? Great, perhaps you like to get things done ahead of time too!  I'm all about trying to relax during the holidays and appreciate the special time I get to spend with my family.  Somehow though, I always get a little crazy at least once during the mad holiday rush.  This can't be avoided completely (at least for my OCD personality) but there are lots of things I can do to make my life a little easier.

This year, we are trying to make as many gifts as possible.  How is this simpler you ask?  We're avoiding the crazy holiday stores and sales for one.  And we're not going to get swept up in the crazy buying frenzy that advertisers would love.  Plus making gifts isn't as daunting as it may seem.  And homemade gifts are so much more special because of the time and love that is put in them.

So every Friday for the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing an easy, inexpensive homemade gift that you can make for your loved ones.  These gifts are great because they are useful and better than their store bought counterparts.  Since we're making almost all of our gifts for our loved ones, there is a little something for everyone.  Stay tuned in upcoming weeks these giftable recipes: herbal healing tea, stress relief bath salts, homemade liqueur, a yummy new granola recipe, holiday nuts and more!

Today, I am starting with vanilla extract because it needs to sit for about two months.  This means you need to make it asap to have it ready for Christmas!  I promise the hustle is worth your time though!  This recipe is for organic vanilla extract made with vodka. It will produce some sweet sweet vanilla perfect for all of your recipes (or for that foodie on your christmas list).

Organic Vanilla Extract

3 cups organic vodka
9 organic vanilla beans
1 quart size mason jar

First you'll need to gather up those fragrant vanilla beans (give 'em a sniff just for fun).

Next, slice each bean lengthwise.  This will let all of that goodness from the center of the bean out into your vodka.

Place your beans in the mason jar and squish them down under the rim so they'll be submerged.  It won't hurt them to be above the vodka but you'll get the most flavor out with them totally covered.

Now pour in three cups of vodka and put your lid on.  Place your jar in a cool, dry place.  You can give the jar a shake every week or too if you want to help mix everything up, but you don't need to.

You'll start to see the extract darken after a week or so... good stuff!

A couple days before christmas (or after about 2 months) you can remove the vanilla beans and pour your extract into small bottles.  Add a little ribbon and a tag and you're all set!

Oh, and don't you dare throw those beans out! Toss them in smoothies or batters- anything where they'll get blended up!

This post is shared at Fight Back Fridays, Simple Lives ThursdayPennywise Platter, Keep It Real Thursday, Foodie Friends FridayGluten Free Fridays, Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop, and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


  1. I have read tons and tons of reviews on homemade vanilla....I am pinning this so can try to make my own. Thank you for sharing at Foodie Friends Friday.

    1. awesome! Homemade vanilla is worlds better than the store bought stuff!

  2. A friend gave me a bottle last year for Christmas and it was the BEST! This looks so good! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday. Please come back to VOTE on Sunday!

  3. Thanks for the reminder that now is the time! I always wait til the last minute and I'd end up giving out bottles of vodka and some vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract

    1. he he, that would sooo be me normally! I'm really trying to be proactive this year....

  4. What a lovely idea, homemade gift ideas every Friday. I wish I knew more people that like to bake so I could make them vanilla extract. I can't wait to see what you come up with every week.

    1. I bet you know more people who like to bake than you may think! Or maybe they just need a little inspiration in the way of some homemade vanilla extract ;)

  5. New fan here via the Barn Hop. I have been wanting to make my own vanilla extract. I would love for you to come share at my Farm Girl Blog Fest:
    And enter to win an Egg Skelter while you're visiting!
    Fresh Eggs Daily

  6. I find it interesting that you use only 9 vanilla beans. When my family makes vanilla extract we use 1/4 lb. per quart of vodka. I think that is about 60 beans but don't quote me on that.

    1. wow, 60 beans?? That would be some crazy strong (and expensive) vanilla. 9 work just fine :)

  7. Awesome! I just made some for Christmas gifts!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) We had 101 awesome recipes! What a great resource we are creating!! Cindy from

    The winner of the Domata prize pack will be announced Thursday at the party!