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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you are anything like me, you are likely to give an eye roll to anyone who dares mention Christmas shopping before you have even packed away your flip flops for the season. That being said, I learned a valuable lesson last year. When making presents for people, what you don't spend in money you will spend in time. Last year I made wreaths for my mother, my mother in law, my niece and each of my sisters. I feel bad for the people that went first. It took about 3 wreaths before I got them hang of them. Each one took hours and hours and the week of Christmas I still wasn't done. That will not be me this year! I plan to make a few cute things I've seen on Pinterest but I am also planning to pack some homemade yummies in to each gift this year and that's where you come in. I figured I would share my recipes along the way. Now that I'm making butter, I thought pumpkin butter and apple butter would be great gifts. I've also been saving glass peanut butter and jelly jars all year. With a little modgepodge and a label they are going to be cute as can be. I've also been saving my vanilla extract bottles (and I have lots) because I'm going to be making my own from now on. This will also make a great gift. Since some of the things I want to do will take a while, I wanted to talk about them now. Now if you don't use 8oz of vanilla a week like I do (really) have no fear  you can buy some really cute jars online for your gifts. I got the recipe for homemade vanilla extract from Pinterest. You wouldn't believe it. You just put vanilla beans in vodka and then let it steep for like 4 months. Here's the link she also shares where to buy bottles and free printable labels. If you start late you can put a "do not use until" date on each bottle she says, although I'm not sure how that works since it will no longer be fermenting with the bean.
As for  me I like to buy organic when I can, so I intended to purchase organic vodka and beans. I ordered my beans from here
I just picked them up from the post office yesterday and I am so excited. I really like to buy local and buy American when ever possible, but when something isn't grown in the US I love to buy direct. I got 20 organic vanilla beans straight from India. I don't remember what it cost but it was under $10.00. I can't even find organic vanilla beans at the grocery store, and the regular ones are from $9-$12 A PIECE.
When I went to the post office I really didn't know what to expect. I was very pleased with what I got.
A woven bag smelling of the most amazing vanilla, hand written, and a list of all the stops it made on it's long journey to my home.
 When I opened the package the vanilla beans were still very moist and as I said before there were twenty of them! So if you want to make this with me, order your vanilla and go buy your vodka. Next I want to try the pumpkin butter recipe I found, because I'm sure I'll change it up a bit. Be on the look out for that recipe soon.

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