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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10 Responses to “Strawberry Rhubarb Bars”

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    Ingrid — August 6, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve been anxious to try rhubarb but after many trips to the grocery store missed the season. (it sold out-FAST!) Did you use fresh or frozen rhubarb? I just saw the frozen kind and have been thinking about giving it a try.
    ~ingrid

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    Jen — August 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Ingrid – I made this when I was home in the Midwest back in June. It seems easier to find out there than in the East Coast where I live. We use fresh and I’ve never used frozen although my dad does freeze his for the rhubarb rolls I made a few weeks ago too. I should have grabbed a ton and froze it myself…

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    bewa3u1 — August 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I made these for a 4th of July party. we ran out of fresh and had to use frozen rhubarb, which tasted fine, we couldnt tell the difference (but we also had the fresh mixed in). Although I would suggest cutting the frozen pieces up a bit more- they came out of the bag huge! ~Jen’s older-younger sister

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    Jen — August 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    thanks little sis! Were they store bought or did Dad freeze them from fresh?

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    Katie — August 7, 2009 at 2:42 am

    No kidding – those look like the best dessert ever!! I’m starring and making for sure!

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    Sara @ Our Best Bites — August 7, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Ya know what- I’ve never made anything with rhubarb! But those sure look yummy so I might have to try it 🙂

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    Colleen — August 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    These look delicious!

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    nutmegnanny — August 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I love rhubarb, what a great new way to use it;)

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    madebymel — August 9, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I really need to try rhubarb. I am afraid I won’t like it, but this looks like a great recipe!

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    Ingrid — August 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Thank for the info Jen! I just may go ahead and give frozen a try otherwise its wait a year.
    ~ingrid

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