From now until Christmas I will be posting DIY gift ideas that can help you stretch your holiday budget.
First up is a bit of an experiment on my part. I’ve read around the internet about creating your own vanilla extract, so I’m giving it a try and hoping it’ll be ready in time for some baking compilation gifts.
Every recipe I read online was a little different, so I don’t have specific measurements for you. If you don’t mind flying by the seat of your pants a little bit, this is a great recipe for you!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Vodka (or rum) - 1L
Glass container (I used the bottle the vodka came in).
1. Cut vanilla beans in half leaving a small portion attached near the top of the bean and add to bottle of vodka. Some instructions online said to scrape the vanilla ‘caviar’ into the bottle first, but I didn’t.
2. Leave vanilla extract to do its thing for about 8 weeks, shaking frequently (or whenever you remember).
That’s it! You’ve got just enough time until Christmas to get this done, although I’m sure a week or two early wouldn’t hurt too much, especially if you throw extra beans in there!
Vanilla beans can be very expensive to purchase, but I picked up 50 beans on eBay for $13. You can purchase the same here and I’d say I used half of the beans in the Vodka. I’m going to be decanting it into smaller containers to give (and keep the rest for myself!) and will put a fresh bean or two in each container with the instructions to add more vodka whenever the beans are exposed to extend the life of the extract.
Uses for leftover beans:
If you’ve still got leftover beans, 1 bean =1 Tbsp of store bought vanilla extract, however many recipes may not allow the caviar to reach it’s full flavour potential. Use your leftover beans in recipes you are cooking on the stove; you may not taste much vanilla if you bake with it. To use a bean, cut it in half and scrape out the ‘caviar’ inside. Use just the caviar in your recipes.
You can put the scraped bean shell in some sugar and in a couple of weeks you will have vanilla sugar for your coffee or tea (or baking)!
I’ll post a weekly update on how the extract is coming alone in the future Christmas gift posts. Make sure to check back!