I recently learned that vanilla extract is super easy to make, saving me from buying overpriced extract or the cheap essence in plastic bottles.Not only is it easy to make, but it is fairly cheap too and it makes great gifts!
What you need:
Spirit- vodka, bourbon, brandy or rum. I am fortunate to date/live with someone who distills their own (hey-yo free booze!).
Vanilla beans- Some supermarkets sell pods that come in glass jars with plastic lids, which you can reuse. Or you can find some at an organic store, however they come in plastic tubes.
Glass Jar- I steep my beans in an old coffee jar, but you can use any old larger jar. I keep small quantities in smaller jars, caper jars are perfect.
What to do:
Slice the beans in half, you can leave the tops connected if you wish.
Chuck your beans in a clean glass jar and cover with your spirit of choice.
Leave to infuse for at least a month.
When you start to remove the liquid top it off with fresh spirits. I leave my beans in and keep topping off with spirits, I will put some fresh beans in again soon, but I am still getting a lovely flavoured extract after 3 months.
I have given away numerous small jars of extract for birthdays and other occasions. With Christmas and gift giving season a few months away now is the perfect time to start infusing some vanilla extract for gifts or for baked goods!