Have you ever thought about making Homemade Vanilla?
We make our own homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer and the most expensive part was buying the Vanilla. I'd seen some pictures of Homemade Vanilla on Pinterest that piqued my interest so I did some investigating and found out it's really easy to make. Pictured above is a half gallon mason jar of vanilla that's been "brewing" for six months now. It's official date of completion was October 24, 2012 - just in time for holiday gift giving! Don't worry I have a second batch brewing that will be ready in March or April in case I get carried away gifting it, after all it was for our coffee creamer...
You'll need vanilla beans, I ordered a package from Amazon.com
Then you'll need a 1.75 liter bottle of Vodka, cheap Vodka is fine. The alcohol extracts the good stuff out of the Vanilla Beans and over a period of six months becomes Vanilla. Have you ever wondered what Vanilla Extract meant on the bottled Vanilla in the stores? Mmm hmmm that's right. At the very beginning of the process the liquid looks like dirty water and smells like Vodka, eew. A few months later the liquid is turning brown as the alcohol is breaking down the Vanilla Beans and it smells heavenly, like Vanilla.
You can see a knife in the photo, I used it to cut open the Vanilla Beans and scrape out the yummy, sticky insides. That's what goes into the jars with the Vodka.
When I started the Vanilla making process I'd read you need room (head space) to shake your jars once a week so I used three quart mason jars. I found I needed my quart mason jars for other things and poured the contents of the three jars into a half gallon mason jar and it fit perfect. As you can see from the first picture the jar isn't completely full anymore, I've used a little of it for our coffee creamer and a gift basket. I just couldn't bring myself to buy one more little tiny jar of Vanilla when I had a half gallon under our kitchen sink!
Speaking of under the kitchen sink... you're supposed to store your Vanilla in a dark place and shake it every day for the first week and then once a week for six months till it's ready. I didn't want to forget about it so I put mine in the cabinet under our kitchen sink. Each time I need something in there I shake my jar of Vanilla. It works for me (=
A couple of our dear friends were married recently and I wanted to use some of my Homemade Vanilla as part of their gift basket. I poured some into a quarter pint mason jar and labeled it to go with the other homemade goodies in their basket.
Six months seems like a long time to wait for Vanilla but it's actually passed rather quickly!
Looking back, it was pretty simple to make, I think the most fun I had with it was buying the Vodka.
My two youngest kids were with me when I bought the bottle of Vodka and they were shocked and really gave me a hard time until I explained exactly what it was for. I think they were actually embarrassed but they thought it was pretty interesting watching the process and now have Homemade Vanilla to use when they bake cookies.
I hope you enjoyed my adventure in making Homemade Vanilla today and might be inspired to make some for your family. I also thought it would be a good idea to give the link for the ReCap lid that's on the 12 oz. mason jar in the photo above, click the name and the link will take you there!
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