I love making my own vanilla extract. It’s so easy, and it’s fabulous to have plenty to hand as I use it all the time for baking. It’s much more frugal to make your own too, as tiny jars of the stuff cost a surprisingly large amount. I also like to pour some into little mason jars to give as gifts – they make super hostess or housewarming presents. Or of course, you can be very generous and give the whole lot!
I recently made up a batch, and will soon be dividing it up, keeping some for myself and ear-marking the rest for gifts. With a pretty handwritten tag and a simple sprig of flowers, a jar of homemade vanilla extract is sure to delight any of your foodie friends. Here’s the Ina Garten recipe (if you can call it a recipe – it’s so easy!) that I use:
Homemade Vanilla Extract (makes 1 large bottle)
12 (I use 13, a baker’s dozen!) vanilla beans
1 bottle vodka
1/ Place the vanilla beans (if you split them lengthwise the flavour develops more quickly) into a tall mason jar and pour the bottle of vodka over top.
2/ Leave the bottle to sit at room temperature for at least a month, until the beans are soft enough to squeeze out the seeds when you cut the end. Add more vanilla beans or vodka as needed.
3/ The vanilla extract can be stored at room temperature indefinitely.