I have a thing that I like to do, and it is this: I love to create homemade versions of commercial products. For Christmas last year, I wanted to make homemade vanilla extract to give to everyone, but I ended up forgetting it, so we gave it to people for Easter this year instead.
You would be surprised at absolutely how inexpensive and easy it really is. Here is how to do it:
DIY Vanilla Extract
Use a knife to split open the bean pods vertically. This is important. Make sure the pods actually split to the center. Some didn’t split fully in our batch, and the vanilla flavor wasn’t as strong.
Push the pod into the bottle. Pour the alcohol over the bean. We used a funnel, and that helped prevent messy spills.
Store the filled bottles in a cool, dark place for at least a month. The longer you wait, the stronger the vanilla flavor. The flavor wasn’t strong enough for my liking until the beans had sat for about 2-3 months.
As you use the vanilla, you can add more alcohol to keep it going nearly indefinitely. What might work best is to have two bottles going, one that you use right now, and one that is brewing. As long as the pods do not get moldy, they are still good to use! Eventually, the flavor will fade, and then you can replace the beans, but you can last at least a year on 1 bean, I bet.
When the bottles were finished, we applied chalkboard stickers and wrote “Vanilla” on the outside. You can also paint directly on the bottle, if you want. There is endless creativity with this project.
Homemade vanilla extract also makes an amazing gift. All told, our cost per bottle was about $2 at most.
|Here is the finished product. Monkey wrote the labels.|