Homemade Vanilla Extract for the Holidays
If you're looking for an easy, affordable and rewarding kitchen project, whipping up a batch of your own vanilla extract is the perfect solution! After all, with lots of holiday baking on the horizon, vanilla extract will be a welcome (and delicious) homemade gift.
These directions will make six 4-ounce bottles of vanilla extract. Feel free to double or halve the recipe to suit your gift-giving needs!
What you'll need ~
- 6 Amber Boston Round Glass Bottles (4oz) with Standard Cap
- 12 Whole Madagascar Vanilla Beans
- 3 cups SKYY Vodka (or any unflavored vodka you prefer)
How to make it ~
Start by thoroughly washing the bottles with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and allow them to air dry.
Using a sharp knife, slice each vanilla bean lengthwise, starting and stopping about 1/4" from each end.
Next, cut each bean in half crosswise. You should now have 24 pieces.
Place 4 vanilla bean pieces in each bottle. Using a measuring cup or funnel, pour 1/2 cup of vodka into each bottle. The beans should be completely submerged in the liquid.
Screw on the caps tightly and place bottles in a cool, dark environment to steep. The vanilla will be ready to use as soon as 6 weeks, but the longer you allow it to age, the more intense the vanilla flavor will be.
Spread holiday cheer ~
Feel free to download our round holiday gift tags to dress up your vanilla extract before giving it to the lucky recipient.
The round tags are 2-1/2" in diameter and can be printed on quality cardstock, hole punched and tied to the extract bottles with twine or ribbon.
Or, if you'd rather turn them into stickers, print them out on sticker paper and affix them directly to the bottles. I used a scalloped edge round punch on my stickers; the 2" size punch works perfectly.
How much it costs ~
Here's a breakdown of about how much it costs to make all six bottles of vanilla:
- Vanilla beans are approx. $1 each ~ $12
- Bottles are approx. $0.60 each ~ $3.60
- A 1.75L bottle of SKYY is approx. $21 (this size will make about 14 bottles of vanilla) ~ $9
- Total: $25 or about $4 per bottle
A 4oz bottle of store-bought vanilla (of comparable quality) will run you about $8!
There are ways to save a bit of money on this project, too. I used SKYY because it's what I had in the house, but there are other less expensive vodka brands that will do the trick.
Wódka is a highly rated vodka that's available for less than $10 per bottle. I'll definitely be using this the next time I make a batch of vanilla.
Enjoy ~ and don't forget to keep a bottle of vanilla for yourself!
--- This project was created by Erika Pitera, the managing editor and art director here at ZEST