Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vanilla Extract

I have been planning on posting holiday recipes and food crafts for months and I'm so excited to share them with you all. These are edible giftables that are easy to make but definitely not too shabby!

I love handmade gifts, it makes me feel extra special because the person who gave them put the extra effort to make them for me. And I figured, my friends and family would love 'em too! So this year, my Christmas list looks very different than my previous ones, and instead of the mall, I will be spending more time in the kitchen crafting the gifts. Check back regularly as this is going to be the first of my "Edible Gifts Series".

My first food craft is homemade Vanilla Extract made from organic Grade-A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans.

Pure vanilla extract, the good ones, are quite expensive, and vanilla pods in this part of the world is a rip off! The cheapest ones sold at the groceries, (you know those lonely, dry vanilla pod in a bottle?), costs around 3BHD (8USD)! That's why I rarely use them for my regular baking and cooking. So imagine how happy I was when I stumbled upon this post by whipperberry, where she shared how simple it is to make your own vanilla extract, and it will not break the bank! I searched several recipes but I find hers to be the simplest and uncomplicated. And check out her packaging, how beautiful are they? She also recommended her online source of vanilla beans which seemed pretty good, but after further research I opted to buy from an ebay seller named Vanilla Products USA and I was very, very pleased with my purchase. My only regret is I wish I bought more! But anyway, because it was the "test" batch, I played it safe and bought just 10 vanilla pods and they are all gorgeous! It came vacuum sealed and when I opened the package, the vanilla beans were shiny, moist and plump, not like those shriveled 3-dinar pods at the groceries. The best part is, 10 pods cost only 7.94 USD! Say what?! Yup, you read it right, 10 organic prime vanilla pods cost less than 1 ugly pod available here! What a great find! The shipping was not bad at all, it costs me 6.48USD. So in total it costs me 14.42USD, 1.44USD per pod which is still not bad, right?

Here's my adaptation of the recipe:

Makes: 3 bottles

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Aging Time: at least 3 months
9 Organic Grade-A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans
4 1/2 cups vodka

You will need:
3 recycled Cade bottles, sterilized and dried
small, stainless funnel
sticker labels (optional)

1. Slice the vanilla pods in the middle halfway through. Place 3 vanilla pods per bottle.
2. Fill each bottle with 1 and 1/2 cups of inexpensive vodka. Stick on the sticker labels. Store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate!

Give the bottle a shake every so often. I adore them and I pay close attention to these babies and watch them "age" beautifully over time. The extract can be used after 3 months and will keep indefinitely at room temperature.

When you're ready to give it away as gifts, you may decorate it with simple ribbons and handmade cards.

So that's my first suggestion on edible holiday gifts, made with lots of love from my kitchen. Hope you're inspired!

04 December 2012
Edible Gifts Series


  1. http://www.amazon.com/Spicy-World-Madagascar-Bourbon-Vanilla/dp/B003TIVBSU/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354740931&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=spicey+world+vanilla+beans

    ~50 beans for less than $30! Great quality, they come vacuum sealed and very plump!

    1. This is awesome too! I got mine from an e-bay seller and they also came vacuum sealed. I'm amazed with the size, 7-8 inches long and yes they were all plump, with the skin shiny and moist and smells really good. The shipping is very reasonable too, so hooray! You may want to check them out, 30pcs costs 16.49USD! http://www.ebay.com/itm/30-Organic-Gourmet-Grade-Madagascar-Bourbon-Vanilla-Beans-6-7-/230765013510?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35baaaaa06

      After this discovery I'm never buying vanilla pods from the groceries ever again! Cheers! :-)

  2. look on Ebay for cheap vanillabeans. I don`t know
    how the quality is but it is cheap.

    1. Hi. Yep, got mine from ebay and I'm really happy with my purchase. There will be many repeat business for sure :-)

  3. Your labels are sooooooo cute. Did you make them? And your pictures are gorgeous!