Store-bought vanilla can get pretty fancy, but absolutely nothing compares to the real thing. Homemade vanilla extract makes for a perfect handmade gift, and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to whip some up!
Take my advice and get enough supplies for two batches—after you make one for mom, I guarantee that you’ll want one too!
* Mason jar, 8oz size with tight-fitting lid
* Vodka, 1 cup (Buy the cheap stuff; it won’t make a difference!)
* 3 vanilla beans
* Painting supplies to decorate jar (optional)
* Kitchen scissors
* Measuring cup
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Using kitchen scissors, snip 3 vanilla beans in half length-wise, then place them in a clean mason jar.
Tip: I bought my vanilla beans in bulk from a local Middle Eastern grocery store for a fraction of the price I’d have paid at Whole Foods or my neighborhood natural market. Vanilla beans can be very expensive, so shop around a bit before you buy!
Measure 1 cup of vodka, then add it to the jar with the vanilla beans.
Secure the lid firmly on the jar, then store in a dark cool place for at least one month (2 months or more is better), shaking the jar periodically to mix. As the infusing process progresses, the color of the liquid change from clear to a deep, rich brown.
If you’re planning to give the jars as gifts, you can give them an extra-homey feel by labeling them with acrylic paints.
The best part about making your own vanilla extract: As the jar empties, you can top it off with more vodka. The vanilla beans will continue to infuse for years to come!