This post for homemade vanilla extract was originally published back in November 2012, and it’s still one of my more popular projects. I thought I’d just let everyone know that I still regularly use my own little bottle! I top it off with more alcohol when it runs low, and I’ve added a couple vanilla beans over time. I’m bringing it back to the surface because if you want to make this for holiday gifts, it’s a good time to go ahead and get started.
My friend Sarah is epic. Seriously. When she makes s’mores, she makes them from scratch – from the graham crackers to the marshmallows. Her baked goods are legendary, and her kitchen is like Disneyland compared to my own meager gadget offerings. Read on to the end of this post to meet Martha and Stewart Siamese and Sarah herself! Lucky for us, Sarah and I are going to be working together on some foods features from now on! This first one is amazing – super easy with a huge impact and high gifting potential!
1. You’re going to need one vanilla bean for a two-ounce bottle or two beans for a 4 ounce bottle. Cut them each in half so that they’ll fit in the bottle.
When you cut them, all the little seeds will ooze out the cut ends. It looks kind of like caviar, which is pretty sick, but it smells awesome, which is not sick at all.
2. Now you’re going to slice down the length. Make sure you start the cut about half an inch from the end so that it stays together. You just want to cut it open to release the seeds and flavors. You can do this with kitchen scissors or a good, sharp paring knife.
3. Stuff your beans into the bottle. So, for the little bottles, you’ll stuff two halves in, for a total of one bean. For the bigger bottles, you’ll put it four halves, for a total of two beans.
4. If they poke out the top, especially on the smaller bottles, you can push them in further, and they should bend. If you can’t bend it, just snip off the ends with your kitchen scissors or paring knife.
5. Booze time! Use a funnel with a small end, or if you don’t have one that’ll fit into the bottle opening, just use a measuring cup with a little spout. Top each bottle off with straight vodka.
This is about when your pretty little project starts looking like a bunch of specimen jars off American Horror Story or something. Power through – it’ll be pretty soon.
6. You should have the labels printed up already from my free download in two sizes. Cut them out, and stick one onto each bottle. Definitely do this last so that you don’t drip anything on the label and ruin it.
7. Tie a cute little bow around the neck, and your vanilla is officially gift-worthy! We used one-inch ribbon because the neck is so short on these.
8. Store the bottles in a cool, dry place for about 6-8 weeks. You should take them out and shake them up weekly. They’ll start to develop that rich, brown color over time (which will look awesome with the light blue labels, by the way!).
These are Sarah’s epic Siameeesies, Martha and Stewart. I love them. Clearly they love me, too.
Do you have any questions about how we did this? Leave ’em in the comments, and I’ll get right back to you! 😀