Friday, November 11, 2011

Homemade Christmas

So every year I try to make something to give to our family and friends for Christmas.  This helps to save on the cost since I have such a large family but also I try to be creative and make something unique and useful :)

This year (yes I realize everyone on my list will know ahead of time what they are getting - I'm not that great at keeping surprises anyway) I am making Homemade Vanilla Extract.  This is super simple, few ingredients needed and minimal work as well - the perfect gift!

I made the homemade vanilla extract from the Passionate Homemaking blog (recipe and directions found here) for my family and friends.

You need the following ingredients:
Vanilla Beans (I used organic) from Mountain Rose Herbs
Glass Jars (I used 4 oz clear jars) also from Mountain Rose Herbs

First cut open one bean down the center (careful to not cut all the way through).  

Then cut it into 2 inch pieces and put inside the bottle.

Then fill the jar up with vodka and close it with the cork top.

Bottle right after you put in the vodka. 
Steep the beans for 6-8 weeks.  You can refill these and reuse it!  Yup, just keep the bean inside the jar and fill it with vodka - steep another 6-8 weeks and use as needed in recipes. 

Bottle after 6 weeks of steeping. 
 Ninety Nine bottles of extract on the wall ;) -LOL only 24 and they are all pretty lined up on my kitchen counter.

The beans need to steep for 6-8 weeks so you can still make some for Christmas and just tell your recipient to let the beans steep for a week or two before they use it :) 

Now for the best part:
Vanilla Beans organic - 1 oz has 6-9 beans (4 oz organic and free trade) $23
4 oz Glass jars (box of 24) $32
Vodka (I got the cheapest I could find) - 2 bottles (I only used 1/5 of the 2nd bottle) of 1.75 liters $20

Total per gift $2.79 (plus shipping and tax on the beans & bottles)

Thanks for stopping by!  I'd love to hear about your tips for making your own Christmas gifts :)

DIY Club
For more information about my 11/11/11 SALE and 3-day Thanksgiving Sale see post here.

Elizabeth Mindemann


  1. Great idea - I just tried this, too- I'd never bought vodka before or vanilla beans, but now I probably have a lifetime supply. LOVE the idea of using these for Christmas gifts. So smart!

    Thanks for adding to my linky party - hope you'll come back again.

  2. love love love this idea... you are getting my 'like vote! awesome!

  3. I love making my own vanilla and Mountain Rose Herbs have the best herbs. I used their products to make some tinctures when I was nursing.


  4. What a wonderful and easy gift. I gotta try this

  5. Thanks so much for the kind comments ladies! Glad you stopped by :)

  6. Love those little bottles and the final price point!


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