A Holiday Gift from The Kitchen

Photo by Molly Clauhs

How to make homemade vanilla extract

Christmas is just around the corner and presumably all your gifts are wrapped and lined up neatly underneath the tree. Packages are perfectly adorned and you got all your friends and family exactly what they wanted. Or perhaps it isn’t that perfect, and you are still finishing up your shopping.

I love gifts from the kitchen; they show a sense of care and effort, plus recipients can make use of the gift and enjoy the item in a sensory way. Homemade vanilla extract is a fun, creative, usable, and EASY gift from the kitchen.

To make the extract, slice vanilla beans lengthwise and place in a clean jar. Dark glass works best as it blocks sunlight. Fill the jar with rum or vodka. I use rum as I like the combination of vanilla and rum. The alcohol does not need to be high quality. Cap the jar and let it sit for 6-8 weeks. Shake the jar frequently. Note that for every 1 cup of alcohol, use 2 vanilla beans. That’s it!

I am reminding my gift recipients to shake the jars, since I just made the extract. Spent vanilla beans can be added to the jars and the extract can be topped off as it’s used. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, enhancing every batch of chocolate chip cookies. Homemade vanilla extract is also an excellent infusion for cocktails.

Beanilla is an excellent source for fresh, affordable vanilla beans and a wide assortment of jars. Also, Beanilla is a local business based in Comstock Park. They are primarily a mail order business, but you can stop by for an emergency stock up of beans and jars, like I did.

Enjoy the holidays. Relish every bite and the opportunity to reconnect and renew. See you in the New Year for more musings from my kitchen!

Molly Clauhs, Contributing Writer

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