This is an awesome inexpensive neighbor gift. The only issue is you would have to jump on making it right now!
I got the original pin from here.
To make Vanilla Extract, you just need 2 things… liquor (Vodka or Rum) and vanilla beans.
- Cut the ends off of your vanilla beans (I used Bourbon Madagascar beans) and then cut them down the middle.
- Put your beans in an air tight container (Mason Jars work great, or you could even put it right back in the bottle of liquor).
- Pour your liquor on top of the beans. You will want to make sure you COVER the beans completely. If you have to cut them that is fine! I have read 3-5 beans per 8 oz. of liquor and have also seen 7 beans per 8 oz. I used 7 because I just wanted to make certain it works!
- Store your jar in a DARK place.
- Shake your jar once a day for 2 weeks and then once a week for a few months after that.
- After a few months, you should be close to done with your vanilla (or done). Using a coffee filter, you can strain your vanilla so there are not any little floaties in it.
- Pour your vanilla into your bottles. The original pin has a really cute label you can print off! It fit perfectly on the 4 oz. bottles I bought from Amazon. I used spray adhesive for my bottles just because it sticks so much better!
- You can do the same thing with Cinnamon extract. My Sister in law gave us really cute bottles for Thanksgiving. She used Vodka and it only took 6 weeks. It smells DIVINE!
- Some say that your vanilla should be ready within a month. My neighbor makes this and suggests 6 months. If your vanilla smells more like a shot of vodka than vanilla extract by Christmas, you can strain what you have, put it in the cute little jars, put a vanilla bean in the jar and attach a tag telling them the vanilla will be ready in a month or so!
- Vanilla is like wine, it gets better with age. The longer you let it steep, the better it will be!
- I have read many posts from people who have put their concoction in their cold storage room. They don’t seem to be ready as quick. I wonder if that is because it is cold. I would just put it in a cupboard up high you don’t often use so the temperature isn’t cold!
- My neighbor told me that you can also simmer your beans for 5-10 minutes in half of the liquor for 5-10 minutes. This helps release the vanilla flavor and should make your vanilla ready quicker! It does reduce the volume so you will want to account for that and buy a bit more than you need.
- I have asked both my sister in law and my neighbor the secret to choosing the liquor. I was told the more expensive Vodka doesn’t make it any better than the less expensive. Time is the real indicator of quality. The original pin suggested Titos Vodka so I just bought that.
- Rum will give your vanilla a bit of a sweeter flavor. You can get Vanilla Rum to kick start the flavor!
This is a great inexpensive neighbor gift idea. Here is the breakdown of the cost:
$12 4 oz. Amber Glass Bottles for 12 (I bought these on Amazon)
$25.75 4 oz. Gourmet Madagascar Vanilla Beans (I bought these on Amazon) You can also make these go further if you don’t use as many. I did the full 7 per 8 oz. of liquor. Some recipes say it can be 3-5. If you do 7 you will need 8 oz. of vanilla. if you do 3-5 a 4 oz. bag should be fine!
Kraft paper from my house
Spray adhesive from my house
Mason Jars from my house
Total Cost: $4.14 per bottle