Sunday, December 29, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Now that Christmas is over & I've finally given these presents, I can share them with you all! 

I'm really big on making something homemade or at least giving something from the heart each year.  The first year that I started this I made a bunch of different Christmas cookies & gave them on pretty red glass plates. The second year I made homemade spaghetti noodles & canned spaghetti sauce.  It was a  huge hit.  This year I decided on homemade vanilla.   It's easy, it's practical, & everyone uses it.  I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I bought the vanilla beans from Indri Vanilla. I bought a half a pound of premium beans which ended up being more than enough than I needed to make around a dozen or so bottles of vanilla.  They have a blog on their site too about what the different beans are & when you should use which one.  They ended up sending me an additional package of beans too since the ones I had originally ordered were out of stock at the time. Bonus for me!!

I read so many different ways to make it, but ultimately decided on using Bacardi Rum to make the extract.   I started them back in October.  I ended up using 3 750ml bottles of rum, one bottle per jar, and I don't know how many beans per jar, I just eyeballed the bundle into thirds & cut the ends off of each bean, put them in the jar & poured the alcohol over the beans.  I turned the bottles about once a week to shake everything up, and keep them in the kitchen cabinet, in the dark. Seriously, this was the easiest homemade gift I've ever made!  

I found some killer cheap amber bottles here.  They cost about $.68 per bottle.  I made my own labels which was kind of a pain but I'm really happy with the way they turned out.  I used glossy white Avery labels, (22830) that are 2.5" in diameter.  The "Homemade" font is Penelope Anne and the banner is KG A Little Swag both can be found here.

this little funnel, which I thought would work great, turned out not working well at all
the liquid kept filling up & spilling everywhere so I just ended up pouring it from the jar into the bolttle

I cut the beans in half at this point & added a couple to each bottle.  The black slimy stuff on the 
cutting board is the inside of the vanilla bean.

the finished product!

I'm thrilled with the way these turned out.  They were really easy.  I ended up filling all 15 bottles that I had ordered with enough left for maybe another bottle or two, so the extra I kept for myself.  


  1. This is awesome idea, and they turned out so cute! I might have to do this next year! We usually make candles in cut wine bottles, but I'm ready to mix it up!

  2. Such a thoughtful gift! You are totally right, everyone uses vanilla. I love the bottles you put them in too!

  3. Oh wow! Such a neat gift, I had no idea it was so easy to make! I might have to put this on my list for next year :)

  4. Okay, I had no clue that that was even how you made vanilla extract! I might make my own from now on! That's such a cool gift, Elena! :)

    1. Thank you. Ii like it cuz you know exactly what's in it, not a lot of ingredients you can't pronounce!!

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  6. Absolutely in love with these! I might have to take this as a little gift or party favor. Love your blog! :)

  7. You're so darn creative, Elena! OMG. I love this. Hope you had a fantastic holiday.

  8. Oh wow, This is nice. I'm going to have to try it.


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