I’d seen and heard about making your own vanilla extract for a while and thought it would be a nice Christmas gift. I finally got around to it at the end of November (If you’re going to make some for gifts you should really give your self 2+ months, but I just labeled mine with ready to use on 1/28/13).
It’s really easy to do, and generally comes out to be a better price on vanilla extract than you get at the store. There are tons of instructions to be found around the internet, but I followed Joy the Baker’s. She has an awesome blog and cookbook, so I trust that she knows her stuff.
I hunted the internet for some good prices on vanilla beans and bottles and ended up using the following items for mine:
Alcohol – Sky Vodka
Vanilla Beans (I found a coupon code for OliveNation that saved me a bit)
Of course if you’re just making extract for your own kitchen you could just throw the beans in the vodka bottle!