When we moved and left our last home, I gave my sister any liquids or leftovers from my kitchen. There wasn't too much left (I pride myself in using up what we have), but I did give her a large bottle of vanilla extract. And not just any vanilla extract -- homemade vanilla. As soon as we arrived at our new place, I asked my husband to pick up a large container of cheap vodka (not a normal request, I promise!) so I could start the process again.
Homemade vanilla extract is not only better (which is often the case when you make it at home!), but it's so much cheaper. All you need are 2 ingredients and a little patience. The vanilla steeps in the vodka for about 3 months and then you can use it forever. So much better than buying those little 3- or 4-ounce bottles at the grocery store!
Also, this makes a great little gift, too!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Taken from: Seeded at the Table
Makes about 24 ounces
- 750 mL bottle of vodka (I prefer a glass jar for the vodka; I don't think vodka quality matters here so I go for the cheapest!)
- 9 vanilla bean pods (I have heard that Madagascar beans are very good; you can get them online since they might not be available in normal grocery stores)
- Pour out 2 shots worth of vodka and store for another use. Slice each vanilla pod in half vertically, leaving one side attached at the end. Drop vanilla pods in the vodka bottle and replace lid.
- Let steep in a cool area in your pantry for 12 weeks before first use. Shake every couple of weeks.
- Slice each vanilla pod in half vertically and horizontally. Place 1 1/2 pods (6 sliced segments) in each 4-ounce bottle. Using a funnel, fill each bottle with vodka.
- Replace lid tightly and let steep for 12 weeks. If giving away before the 12 weeks is up, include a tag with the bottle that states the "Ready for Use By" date.