For Christmas pressies, I decided to make homemade vanilla extract. I can now write about them since I have given the pressies away 🙂 I was given a jar by my sister-in-law as a present last year and I thought it would be a great gift idea for me to replicate as I use the jar all the time! It’s super easy and is a nice pressie that is practical and will last for ages. I bought my little jars from a shop called Tiger. The only ingredients you need is vodka – I used Smirnoff – you don’t need anything too fancy plus high quality vanilla pods – 1 per jar. I had good customer service from Vanilla Mart and you can buy the pods in all sorts of different types and quantities.
- Cut lengthways down the vanilla pod, leaving 1 inch connected at one end.
- Put the vanilla pod in a preserving jar – it needs to have a tight fitting lid.
- Cover with the vodka to the top of the jar and give it a shake.
- Store in a cupboard for 2 months and hey presto you have your own vanilla extract for baking with!
- The vanilla extract lasts for years – you just keep topping it off with the vodka.
I got some good tips from this recipe on Simply Recipes. I was intrigued to learn that each vanilla pod comes from an orchid that has been pollinated by hand. Once the vanilla seed pod has developed, it must be hand picked as well. Who knew!