Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 Homemade Gifts~Part 2

Today I am sharing two more gifts that I made to give to family and friends for Christmas 2012. You can read part one here.

Homemade Vanilla and Vanilla Sugar


Back in June of last year I made homemade vanilla for the first time.   Once you have your ingredients and supplies on hand,  it takes just a few minutes until you are on your way to making your very own vanilla! It is so easy!

Vanilla needs to ferment for several months so this is a gift you want to plan ahead. I let my vanilla ferment for 6 months. You can ferment it for less time, but the longer it ferments the stronger the vanilla will taste.

What you need:  

  • Vodka and vanilla beans
  • jars for it to ferment it in ( I used canning jars I had on hand)
  • small bottles to give it away in. I purchased these 4 oz. Boston round bottles from Amazon.
  • coffee filters and a mesh strainer for straining (optional)

You can find the directions on how to make your own vanilla here.

I finished making my vanilla in December, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. The final step in making my vanilla was straining out the bits of vanilla bean. I used a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter. You do not have to strain your vanilla, but some folks don’t care for the little bits of vanilla bean seeds in their vanilla, so I opted to strain mine.

After that step, I filled my 4 oz. bottles and added labels. I used free the labels found here. I cut my labels down to fit my bottle and applied them with clear packing tape and added some decorative yarn for a finishing touch!

I ended up with twelve 4 oz. bottles of vanilla and 6 oz. left for myself.

Don’t throw those vanilla beans away when you are done making your vanilla! Pat them dry and add a couple to your plain, granulated sugar. After a couple of days you will have lovely vanilla sugar to add to your coffee, tea, hot chocolate or even to top your cookies with!

And did you know… can make another batch of vanilla using those same vanilla beans! You sure can! When you are filling your bottles of vanilla leave about 1/4th of the original vanilla in your container and fill the remaining back up with new vodka. (the cheap vodka works great!) I have my second batch of vanilla just fermenting away in the cabinet as we speak!

Don’t forget to keep your fermenting vanilla in a dark closet and give it a shake every week!


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