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.







About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
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17 Responses to Getting a Jump Start on Christmas Gifts

  1. Good heavens! Those charred looking sticks are vanilla beans?


  2. PC Tuesday says:

    I have always wanted to try this. This may just be the nudge I needed!


  3. bittster says:

    Wow, I would have never thought it was that easy and I bet working with the beans was a treat for the nose! I might have to give this a try…. but I might be tempted to try a vanilla shot instead of wasting it in cookies or something 🙂


  4. ChgoJohn says:

    This would make a great Christmas gift — though I bet I’d keep it for myself. Wouldn’t want to spoil anyone, 🙂


  5. Wow! I never realized making your own vanilla extract is so easy!


  6. See Laurie Write says:

    Very cool! I am always looking for homemade ideas for gifts, and this would be great! Thanks for sharing. 🙂


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  8. Lilith says:

    how wonderful! I use lots of vanilla essence, not only in desserts , but also to wipe donw frig, leave in little containers to keep cupboards smelling fresh. Now I can make my won and also make Xmas pressies at same time! THank you!


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