Friday, November 21, 2008

Crafty Gift Idea # 4 - Homemade Vanilla Extract

Believe it or not, but vanilla extract is unbelievably easy to make! And it is a great gift for the bakers in your life. All you gotta do is get a few vanilla beans (I use about 8 beans for 4 oz of extract), put them in a small jar and fill it with vodka or bourbon. Wait about a month, maybe swirl it around every few days, and it should be ready. As you use the vanilla, you can fill it with more alcohol. Or if you need a vanilla bean for a dessert, you can pluck one out and use the seeds. If you keep adding more alcohol and beans as you use them, you will have extract for years.

And if you happen to have extra vanilla beans, you can actually make vanilla sugar in much the same way. Take a bean, some sugar, put together in an airtight jar. Wait a couple weeks, remove bean, presto! Vanilla sugar. So simple.

3 comments:

Ms. Petey said...

That's so cool! I never knew...

john m said...

Holy smokes! That seems like a big money saver, because the grocery store sells vanilla extract for $15 for a tiny bottle. (The unit price on those bottles is awesome because it's like six thousand dollars per pint. Ha! I love that!)

Katy said...

Well, buying the vanilla beans isn't cheap (especially if you go to the grocery store.) If you buy them in bulk, its not so bad. But once you get started, its pretty easy to recoup your expenses over the years.

And actually, if you are willing to buy them in bulk, I know FOR A FACT that my employer, Marx Foods.com, is going to be selling Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans by the pound starting next week. And if you lay on a thick layer of flattery, I might be able to get you a pretty sweet deal.