Christmas in July – Homemade Vanilla Extract

With just under 5 months until Christmas, it might be time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and family. That’s what I was doing about a year ago. I am definitely a big planner and had decided early in 2009 to make as many Christmas gifts as I could. Some of these gifts required quite a bit of time and some were easy to throw together. This week I’ll be sharing the gifts that I gave our family and friends last year.

The first gift came about due to a sale on Amazon. There was a great deal on 1/2 lb of vanilla beans. I started with two bottles of vodka and the vanilla beans. Once the beans were split (but not scraped) and placed in the vodka, the bottles just had to sit in a cool dark place. Every couple of weeks Hubby would pull the vodka out of the closet and shake the crap out of it. A couple months later the vanilla extract was ready to go!

I ordered some bottles online and made some labels for the bottles to finish off the look. I also placed two vanilla beans into each bottle.

I love that the vanilla extract tastes so good, has the specks of fresh vanilla beans, and will essentially never run out. If the vanilla starts running low, you can just top it off with some more vodka. As you use vanilla beans, just throw the pods in the bottle to replenish the vanilla flavor.

One Year Ago: Goat Cheese Potato Salad and Salmon with Yellow Pepper and Cilantro Pesto
Two Years Ago: Champagne Cupcakes

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13 Responses to “Christmas in July – Homemade Vanilla Extract”

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    SimplySweeter — July 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm
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    How To Be Perfect — July 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Fantastic idea, I will have to give this a go x

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    Kristen — July 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    What a great idea! Now I just have to think of what to pair this with to give as gifts.

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    The Cooking Photographer — July 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Great minds think alike!! I have been brewing vanilla extract for months for Christmas gifts.

    I thought I’d answer your question here. I love your idea for frosting. It would be heavenly!

    Laura

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    Jenni @ Project Cookie 365 — July 27, 2010 at 2:20 am

    What? You can just add more vodka to your supply? I had no idea! I just used the last of my homemade vanilla, and it was soooo deliciously dark :) Now that I know that, I’ll have to remember when I make my next batch! Do you have a favourite type of bean? I used Tahitian the last time, and it didn’t have that “normal” vanilla scent to it… I’ll have to find which beans give that traditional scent (though, really… any vanilla works for me!)

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    Calm In The Kitchen — July 28, 2010 at 1:41 am

    This is definitely on my gift giving list.
    I received homemade vanilla once and it is still one of my favorite gifts.

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    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy — July 28, 2010 at 2:18 am

    I have always wanted to try this!! My brother did it once but that was before I was into cooking and I totally didn’t appreciate it. I would now! Thanks!

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    bcallegra — July 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I think it’s the perfect idea for a gift and never even thought of making it myself. Of course, if I do end up making it, I’ll probably just end up using it all before I give it away! :)

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    jmanley — July 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    how many beans did you put in the vodka bottles to start?.. love the idea.. Thanks

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    Jen — July 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    jmanley – I put 24 beans in each bottle of vodka. They were the big bottles of vodka. As you can see in the pictures, I used skyy, which is great, but I couldn’t watch the color of my vanilla change! Definitely try to get clear bottles or pour the vodka into a clear jar so you can tell when it’s ready.

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    jmanley — July 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    thanks for the quick response.
    Love your website:)

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    KV — August 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    what type of vanilla bean did you use – does it matter?

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    Jen — August 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    KV – The type of bean you use will have an impact on the flavor. I used Bourbon-Madagascar beans for my vanilla.

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