I realize it’s July, but a little bit of preparation for Christmas in July just might be in order, especially after you read all about how to make homemade Vanilla Extract! See it takes a few months to make vanilla extract. If you make up a batch in July, it will be ready for gift giving by Christmas!
In addition to making homemade sugar scrub last year for Christmas gifts, I also made homemade Vanilla Extract. This is the real deal. Not some imitation or artificially flavored vanilla, but genuine, rich, aromatic Homemade Vanilla Extract.
I had been wanting to make homemade vanilla extract for years. I have no idea what took me so long to finally give it a try. I’m just really glad I finally did!
Making homemade vanilla extract takes just a little bit of time, over a long period of time. You’ll see what I mean here in a minute. Making the vanilla takes just two ingredients and a matter of minutes. Literally.
I did some research and found all sorts of recipes. All of them were essentially the same. Although some recipes called for slicing the vanilla beans open, while some said to cut up the beans into pieces and yet others said to only slit open the beans partially. After reading all I ever wanted to know about how to make homemade vanilla extra – and then some – I settled on this super easy recipe.
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Homemade Vanilla Extract
To make homemade vanilla extract, you’ll need just a few supplies.
- Vodka 70 Proof/35% Alcohol (or you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy; any brand/quality)
- Madagascar Vanilla Beans
- Scissors or a sharp knife
The vanilla bean to vodka ratio is 3 or 4 vanilla beans per 8 oz. vodka. You can either make your homemade vanilla extract in small individual bottles or a large bottle. I made my vanilla in 4 oz bottles with 2-3 beans each.
- IMPORTANT STEP FOR MAKING HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT: First, you’ll want to wash your bottles with hot soapy water (or run them through the dishwasher) and make sure they are completely dry before you use them. You want your bottles to be as clean and sterile as possible so you have the best homemade vanilla extract possible. Likewise, make sure your funnel and scissors are clean.
- Once you have your bottles all prepped and dried, you simply take 3 or 4 vanilla beans (I used Madagascar Vanilla Beans that I purchased on Amazon), and cut or slice them 3/4 of the length of the bean. You may want to cut your beans in half to begin with, depending on what size bottles you use. I used 4 oz bottles and I gut my beans in half and then sliced them up one side of the beans.
- Place the beans in the bottle and pour vodka over the beans. Be sure to not fill the bottle all the way, but you do want to cover the beans. You’ll want to leave a little bit of head room so you can shake the vodka.
- Place a lid on the bottle and shake for a few seconds.
- Continue with the next bottle.
- Once you have all your bottles filled, you will want to store them in a cool, dark place where you have easy access to them. I simply placed my bottles back in the shipping box. Then you’ll give the bottles a few shakes two or three times a week. Since I had my bottles in the carton, I simply picked up the whole carton (make sure the lid is securely closed) and shook all the bottles at once.
- Wait about 8 weeks and your bottles of vanilla and vodka will turn into amazingly aromatic Vanilla Extract.
Once you’re ready to give your Homemade Vanilla Extract as gifts, you’ll want to prepare a label for your bottles. There are a slew of labels already available online. Here are a few of my favorites:
Homemade Vanilla Extract Labels and Instructions from A Little Insanity:
Homemade with Love Vanilla Extract Printable Labels from Brepurposed:
Homemade Vanilla Extract Printable Labels from On Sutton Place:
So, making homemade Vanilla Extract really is just that simple and it makes an elegant Christmas gift, wedding gift, bridal shower gift or anytime gift. Just be sure to make enough for yourself! And, like I said, if you get started now, they’ll be ready and just perfect for holiday gift giving.
I actually made little burlap gift bags for my homemade vanilla, along with a festive red plaid ribbon and gift tag. I made my labels myself and simply punched holes in them and tied twine to affix them to the bottles. I really was pleased with the results and I think our family and friends were pleased as well.
If you make this homemade vanilla extract, I’d love to hear about your results!
Til next time…