Getting a Jump Start on Christmas Gifts

Normally, I am a wait ’til the last minute shopper for Christmas gifts but for some reason I thought about this.
Last year, I saw something about making your own vanilla extract.  My local Natural Food Store carries bulk vanilla beans, so I picked some up and decided to give this a try.
The original recipe calls for 3-5 vanilla beans per 6 oz. of vodka. I had some unused vodka in the cabinet, so this is what I used just guessing on the amount of alcohol.  It turned out great!
Here’s the step-by-step info.  It really doesn’t get much easier.
Start by cutting your vanilla beans into little pieces.
vanilla extract
If you press on the pieces, a little paste will come out.  You can do this or not.  I didn’t the first time I made it and it  had a very good vanilla flavor.  I did do it this time so we’ll see.
Place the pieces in the alcohol.  I used 20 vanilla beans for a 750 ml bottle of vodka.
vanilla extract
Tighten the lid and shake well.
vanilla extract
At this point, it will  look like a vanilla/vodka snow globe.
Place the bottle in the brown paper sack it came in and write the date on the bag.
vanilla extract
Place the bag in a nearby cool and dark place.  About once a week, give the bottle a good shake.  In about 2 months (which will be around Christmas), the extract will be ready to use.  At this time, you can strain the bean pieces out (or not-I didn’t) and place in a decorative, dark, glass bottle.  This is definitely a home-made gift they will use and enjoy.