Happy Leap Day! I thought it'd be cool to squeeze in another post before the end of February, and thankfully I was given an extra day. I meant to post this recipe before the holidays as a gift idea, but then I got involved in way too many others projects. Now it'll have to be a winter activity to help escape the boredom, eh? And so, in the spirit of my last post's DIY theme, I present: homemade vanilla extract.
When it comes to basic ingredients, I love figuring out how to make my own products. You save a few bucks and the homemade stuff is always better than store-bought. Vanilla extract is a great example. There are two simple ingredients: vanilla beans and cheap vodka. Vanilla beans can be spendy, unless you do some shopping around. Most stores sell them by weight and it ends up costing a couple bucks per bean, but I found them in bulk at New Seasons for $1.25 each. Also, by using the cheapest vodka you can get, you end up with about 10 ounces of excellent homemade vanilla extract for approximately $6. Not bad, I'd say.
about 10 ounces cheap vodka
3 to 4 vanilla beans
Pour vodka into a glass bottle with a catch release sealable top or with a cork. Cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Stuff bean strips into bottle. Store in a dark place and shake weekly. Extract is ready in about 2 months or when nut brown.