12 Days of Healthy Holiday Gifts: Homemade Vanilla Extract

by in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, Healthy Holidays, December 1, 2010
Dana's Homemade Vanilla Extract

Starting today, we’re serving up a new healthy gift idea every day for 12 days!  First up: from-scratch vanilla extract your friends and family will love.

Using high-quality, pure vanilla extract can make all the difference in baked goods and whipped cream, but the good stuff can get pricey! You can make some that’s beyond better for a fraction of the cost.  This gourmet-caliber extract makes an ideal hostess gift or stocking stuffer for anyone who loves to cook.

Vanilla Extract
Some extracts only contain imitation vanilla flavoring – real vanilla beans are the only way to go. Splurge on the best beans you can find (they should cost around $2.00 to $3.00 each) and save on the vodka – buy what’s on sale and spend $20 or less for a liter.

What You’ll Need

1 liter vodka
4 vanilla beans
8 (4-fluid ounce) food-grade glass bottles with caps (available at craft stores or online)

Procedure
Heat vodka in a medium saucepan until warm. Split and scrape out the seeds from vanilla beans and place it all (pods and seeds) in a large sealable glass jar or container. Pour in warm vodka, cover and shake to combine. Place in a cool, dry place to infuse for at least one week (two is even better). Strain and use a funnel to transfer to glass bottles. Cut each bean pod in half and place a piece in each bottle.

Gift-Giving
To give your vanilla a personal touch. Make simple labels on the computer, wrap in clear cellophane bags tied with a bow.

TELL US: What homemade gifts are you making this year?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (90)

  1. kathleen says:

    I heard about making your own extract and have been looking for the recipe. Thanks a million!

  2. [...] they can do it the kitchen. Some fun DIY projects to start off the New Year:  Make your own vanilla extract, macerated cherries, fruit leather and flavored [...]

  3. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.Keep working ,great job!

  4. thanks !! very helpful post!

  5. Thank God I’m an atheist.

  6. John Dryden~ They think to little who talk to much.

  7. Aloria says:

    Nice blog. thnks ! leboincoin

  8. [...] the season for gift-giving! Some of my go-to holidays gifts are homemade vanilla extract, dark chocolate bark, perfectly-portioned wine glasses (like these from Olive & Cocoa), and a [...]

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