Wednesday, February 9, 2011

make your own vanilla: a gift idea from Kathleen at AlwaysSewLove

I'm somewhere between Iowa and Texas, so I'm turning my blog over to Kathleen today!  I was looking through her blog a while ago and found this idea.  She took pity on me in my moving chaos, and wrote this up for you all.  Let's give her a warm welcome!

Hi! This is Kathleen from AlwaysSewLove.  I am so excited to be a guest here today!  Here is an awesome tutorial for making....  

I saw this idea on the Heavenly Homemakers blog and knew I had to try it. I can't believe how expensive vanilla extract is at the local food store.

Here is what you need.
1. Vanilla Beans. I ordered Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Amazon. $23.75 for 1/2 pound.
2. Vodka. Buy the cheap stuff. Did you know they come in plastic bottles these days? Mine were $8.99 a half gallon.
3. Gallon glass jar. I found mine at Walmart for $4.98.

First step is to cut the vanilla beans in half length wise leaving about an inch so it stays together.

This takes a little while. When all vanilla beans are cut place them in the jar.
Now pour the Vodka into the jar. Screw on lid. Put in a dark place and wait 6 months.

I purchased my bottles from Specialty Bottle Supply.  I bought twelve, eight ounce sized bottles.  They were .86 apiece.  They also sell plastic shrink wraps which makes for a more professional look.  Shipping costs more than the bottles so while your vanilla is 'cooking' keep an eye out for bottles you can use.  A dark glass would be best. 


My Vanilla only 'cooked' for about 5  months since I started a little late.  I found this site The Graphics Fairy in blog land that has free graphics.  I found something I liked and doctored it up in iPages. I bought sheets of labels and printed them out.

Depending on the jar or bottle you used you might have a bit of trouble pouring the vanilla into your little 8 ounce bottles.     

  • The Vanilla :)
  • Amber bottles - my 5 gallon jar yielded 12, 8 ounce bottles.
  • A large measuring cup.
  • A strainer
  • A coffee filter
  • A funnel
  • Labels

(I used a plastic tub to catch any spills.)

1.  Put the coffee filter into the strainer and then place in measuring cup.

2.  Pour the Vanilla into the coffee filter.  

3.  Pour into the bottles.  Dry the outside of the bottles.

4.  Place labels on.  Not so easy to get it perfect... but close enough.

5.  I wrapped the bottles in plastic bags and added a bow.

Then give them all away!

NO WAIT!  Keep one or two for yourself and plan on making a new batch in June!  


I love this project for two reasons:
1) because it's uber cool to say that you know how to make your own vanilla
2) because I need a good lesson in patience, and this is sure to teach me that

Thanks Kathleen!

Craft on! 


Annette W. said...

Who would have known? I have stopped buying imitation and buy the good stuff now.

Timmi said...

I have been wanting to do this for some time now. Thanks for this post, I'll be getting started on this shortly, cause I know I've spent that much money on those itty bitty (but oh so cute) bottles of vanilla.

Liz said...

So by cutting them lengthwise you mean like cutting a slit down them except not all the way right? I don't cut them in half.

Timmi said...

Also what if I just want to make a gallon how many vanilla beans would go in to that?

Kathleen said...

Hey ladies! Liz, yes, you cut them long ways and keep the top together. I don't really know why you can't just separate them but I think the important thing is to cut them so the insides come in contact with the vodka while it is soaking.

Timmi - I made a gallon and I used 1/2 pound of vanilla beans.

Pippi said...

sorry so does it come out thick like the vanilla you buy from the shops

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