better to give | DIY Vanilla Extract

So this blog post is a little different for me. In fact, this one has been on my list of things to blog about since this time last year. But I had a reason for waiting so long, I had to actually finish this little project before I could photograph it, and then I had to wait for the holiday season to come back around again so it would help all of you with your holiday lists :-). Well, look at me — actually remembering to post this (*pats self on back*).

Normally, I don’t have a huge amount of time for Pinterest projects, I have boards upon boards of stuff I want to do, in fact, I actually have a board named “Things I want to do”. I should probably rename it “Things I’ll probably never do”. Maybe someday I’ll have more free time… maybe?? In any case, this little project actually got completed because I happened to be on maternity leave so not only did I have a bit more ‘free’ time, but I also had less money in my pocket so a DIY holiday gift seemed like a great idea. I must give credit where credit is due since I did find this on Pinterest, it was by no means my original idea (sadly, I will never be this crafty all on my own). This was originally blogged by The Italian Dish.

So Homemade Vanilla Extract… who knew this would be so easy? Here is what you will need:

  • Glass bottles or jars with covers
  • Vanilla beans
  • Vodka
  • 6 weeks of patience


I originally pinned the idea because I really liked the little glass bottles and when they arrived at my home, I liked them even more. You can buy them here through the Specialty Bottle Company. I’ll need to do some more Pinterest stalking to figure out what other concoctions I can make in these cute little bottles.blog1

I cleaned and rinsed all of the bottles and caps. And then moved onto the ever so pleasant-smelling task of cutting the vanilla beans. I got these beans through Beanilla, though there are several places you can get them, especially online. They seemed to have the best price for the amount that I wanted. You’ll want to buy enough so that you have 3-4 beans per bottle. Cut a small slit down the middle of each bean so that brown pasty stuff inside is exposed. This task can get a little messy, but the amazing smell will make up for it.blog3

Once you have sliced the beans, insert 3-4 into each jar and then grab a handy dandy funnel… TRUST ME, you’ll want a funnel for this no matter how steady you think your hand is… I’ll tell you right now, you’ll waste a ton of vodka, make a huge mess, weep over the spilled alcohol, and then tell yourself you should’ve listened to me.blog5

I chose to use Smirnoff vodka, actually I think my husband chose it. I told him to get a decently priced bottle of vodka but nothing that was ‘burn your throat’ cheap. It was actually the perfect choice.blog4

Once you have filled all your bottles and placed the caps back on, they will look like this. Kinda creepy and pretty at the same time. And then you’ll wait and wait…. and wait…blog6After a few weeks, the vodka will begin to brown (which is good!) and after about 6 weeks, you can consider it strong enough to use. The best part about homemade vanilla extract?? When it gets low, just add more vodka! I kept 3 bottles and just keep refilling and rotating them (look at me pretending that I bake all the time, I really don’t!) Like The Italian Dish, I got my cute little labels from which has sort of been like discovering sliced bread — they have the cutest stuff. So there you have it, your own homemade vanilla extract. I threw these in with gifts for teachers, family, friends and neighbors. So, you have exactly 6 weeks until Christmas… better get started. Enjoy! 02_01_white(2)


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