Vanilla Extract makes GREAT gifts and this Vanilla Extract Recipe is so easy!
Every year I look forward to figuring out what I am going to make for Christmas presents. I make gifts for my friends and family – and they are always handmade. Each year it is something different – it just depends on what I am focusing on at the time!
I usually make things throughout the year and then figure out who they go to. My daughter says I am the only person she knows with a Christmas Present spread sheet. Haha. One year I knitted socks for everyone. Another year I painted and decorated clipboards and they each had a matching tablet to go with it. Card making is always a go-to for me, too.
Another year I made Vanilla Extract. The vanilla was a HUGE hit with everyone. They just loved it. Since I recently moved and now have a different set of friends…. AND my children are grown and out of the house and do their own cooking…..I decided to repeat the Vanilla Extract for Christmas this year. Homemade Vanilla Extract is so much better than store bought. Plus, it is so so so easy to make – Yay for easy!
Right NOW is the perfect time to get started on making your own Vanilla. Grab this Vanilla Extract Recipe.
It takes about 2-3 months for the beans and alcohol to become vanilla extract. If you are reading this and you only have a few weeks (or days) don’t despair – I have a few tricks at the end of this post so you can still make it and give as a gift.
All vanilla beans are not created equal. There are different origins and types of beans. The three main types are Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican vanilla beans, but vanilla beans are also grown in other parts of the world. I personally like the flavor of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. I have never used Mexican Vanilla Beans. There are also different grades. I use Grade B since I am making vanilla extract. For cooking I buy Grade A — those beans are usually longer and plumper. You can buy them on Etsy or Amazon.
(All supplies are linked in the text below and in the thumbnails at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.]
Bourbon or vodka. I used grain-free vodka and I buy the cheap stuff. 80 proof. The difference is taste – I have always used Vodka. Maybe it’s cheaper 🙂
Vanilla beans. I buy mine from Etsy or Amazon – grade B. HERE is the link to what I bought on Etsy. You can buy Madagascar Vanilla beans too – but those are a tad more expensive – the link for those is HERE.
4 oz. amber bottles. Buy THESE or THESE from Amazon. The reason you want amber is because it keeps the light out – BUT if your vanilla is kept in a dark area (like a kitchen cabinet) than a clear bottle works too. The 8 oz. bottles are HERE.
Large mason jars or another large jar with a tight sealing lid. I split mine up into 2 half gallon jars because I make a lot! Quart jars work well too.
Labels – you can make your own or print out the ones I made for you – click HERE or the button below.
You need 5-6 vanilla beans per 8 oz. of alcohol. I made 12- 4 oz. bottles. So, I only needed 36 beans and 48 oz. of alcohol. The math: 8 oz. vodka = 5/6 beans.
Vanilla Extract Recipe Instructions –
Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise down the center. No need to scoop out the flesh.
Place the split beans in the large mason jar with the vodka. 6 beans per 8 oz. Seal tightly. NOTE – the beans must be completely submerged in the liquid. If they are too long, cut them in half (or even thirds).
Place in a space that is room temperature and dark (or cover it with something to create an illusion of dark) until bottling time (2-3 months).
Bottling time – YAY!
Remove the pods.
Strain the pulp from the liquid using cheesecloth (you need about 4 layers) or other fabric. I use a nut bag. Or a fine mesh cheesecloth. Remove as much of the pulp as possible. It’s ok if some of the flecks remain.
Pour the liquid into the bottles. I use a funnel so I don’t lose a drop.
And that is all there is to it. Apply a cute label and find a cute package. One year I used Pringles cans. I decorated them on the outside, added paper shred with the bottles inside. This year I am going to attempt to make a round ‘box’ on my Cricut. I will let you know if it becomes a reality!
Tie a cute piece of string or ribbon around the top and attach your tag.
The video for making the Vanilla Extract is above (only 2 minutes long!) –
Want to know how to print then cut the labels and tags? Click on the button below.
What if you don’t have 2-3 months to make your vanilla extract?
If you don’t have time to let the vanilla brew than you can do this –
Follow all of the directions above.
Include a card with the directions for what to do in 2-3 months time. Print out a tag with the ‘finished by’ date so they know when to strain and begin using it. I have a tag for you to print and cut out or you can use your Cricut. Click on the link above.
What do I do for my own stash of vanilla extract? I make a half gallon of vanilla for myself. I keep it in a mason jar in a dark cabinet. I have my little 4 oz. bottle in the kitchen where I can reach it often. When it gets empty I refill it from my big jar. The beauty of vanilla is that it does not expire – all that alcohol keeps it fresh.
And there you have it – an awesome Christmas (or anytime gift) that is so easy to make. Everyone will be so in awe of your mad ‘cooking’ skills. Your girlfriends will love you and these make great teacher and bridal gifts, too.
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My 2022 Holiday Planner is just what you need to keep organized and on top of things during this busy season. And, it's FREE.
INCLUDED - My Party Planner! Put your party hat on and plan with confidence! Grab yours before they are gone!
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