homemade vanilla extract ingredients

Homemade Vanilla Extract and Re-purposed Gift Packaging

on December 6 | in Baking, Cooking, Crafts, Gift Ideas, Holidays, Recipes, Tutorials | by | with 21 Comments

 homemade vanilla extract ingredients

Every year around this time I face a conundrum. Don’t you just love that word? Conundrum. Ahem…anyway, here’s my conundrum (I just had to work it into a sentence again!). Everyone gives each other gift cards. And, while I really love receiving gift cards, I REALLY don’t like giving them. Can any of you relate? So, I always try and include something more personal when I give a gift to help offset those less personal plastic things that I shove into a box or gift bag. Something handmade…or homemade…like this Homemade Vanilla Extract!

While doing my very scientific research about Vanilla Extract (which consisted of typing the words into my search box and hitting enter) I discovered a critical piece of information. Vanilla beans can be really expensive. And you need quite a few of them to make vanilla extract.

Another conundrum (couldn’t resist!).

And, if you don’t use enough vanilla beans then you are essentially just making vanilla flavored vodka. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, right? But, I was determined to make vanilla extract so I shopped around to find vanilla beans that wouldn’t turn this budget friendly project into a budget busting one. One option is to order them online which I totally could have done if I had thought ahead but frankly that isn’t something I’m doing very well lately!

vanilla beans for homemade vanilla extract

 As it turned out, our favorite little local farmer’s market carries them and at $1.25 apiece I felt I could still reasonably make this a simple and inexpensive gift. To make the extract, simply cut the vanilla beans to fit the size of your bottle and then, using a sharp knife, split open lengthwise to reveal the inside. That’s where all the flavor lives! Be sure to be careful not to cut through the bean completely.

sliced vanilla bean

In order to keep from just making vanilla flavored vodka (which is definitely going to be my next creation!), I used the smallest sized bottles I could find. I placed the vanilla beans inside and then filled the bottle with vodka until the tips of the beans were covered.

I gave it a shake and within a few hours it was already turning this gorgeous color!

homemade vanilla extract

Simple little labels were added and include the date when the extract will be ready.

vanilla extract label

In keeping with my inexpensive attempt at creative gift giving, I decided to do some re-purposing in order to package my homemade vanilla extract.

I always save these chip containers never really knowing what I’ll do with them. Do you do that too? My kids keep thinking we have tons of chips in our house!

They were the perfect size for my little bottles but they definitely couldn’t stay purple, now could they?

recycling Pringle cans for gifts

Covered in wrapping paper and tied off with a creamy grosgrain ribbon you would never know they once carried a stack of chips that lasted all of 3 days in my house.

packaging homemade vanilla extract

A little tag attached to the front completes the gift and helps explain the process for the Vanilla Extract.

Please don’t judge my bad handwriting. I’m pretty sure my 9 year old has better cursive skills!

homemade vanilla extract as holiday gifts

Now, who wouldn’t love getting this for Christmas?

Especially if it came with a gift card too!

So, how about you? Will you be giving any handmade or homemade gifts this year?

I’d love to hear about them and hope you enjoyed joining me here today!


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21 Responses to Homemade Vanilla Extract and Re-purposed Gift Packaging

  1. Trissa says:

    Would love to do this for special people on my list. Where did you find the bottles you used?

  2. Goedele says:

    I would love to try his. Keeping it budget friendly is indeed difficult with vanilla beans. Ordering online might be a good idea!

    Best wishes from Belgium

  3. Jill Flory says:

    Homemade vanilla is something I’ve been thinking I should make for quite awhile now. Can you share with me where you purchased your bottles? I think this would be a great gift for one of our Christmas exchanges.

  4. Lucy says:

    So easy and beautiful for gifting …your photos are beautiful also. Thank you for sharing this great gift idea Vanessa…:)

  5. mommahen says:

    I would LOVE to receive this as a gift. Such a great idea using the chip containers. You are a genius. Great work!

  6. Beth says:

    Ooooo I’ve always wanted to do this! Thanks for an excellent tutorial. Loving these pretty pics, too! :)

  7. Great gift idea, and the packaging is gorgeous too!

  8. [...] is also over at the FOLK Magazine Blog today where she is sharing how to make DIY Vanilla [...]

  9. Tiffany | Offbeat & Inspired says:

    LOVE this!!! I’m definitely going to give the extract a try and I love the use of Pringles cans as packaging!

  10. Sarah | Offbeat & Inspired says:

    This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Looks gorgeous.

  11. Sherry says:

    What a great idea! I may have to try this. I was just looking at a magazine with homemade food gift items and I just added some of the ingredients to my grocery list. I will have to see if our local store has vanilla beans. I know a few foodies who would love this! Thank you for the idea and for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  12. Tanya says:

    This is SUCH a wonderful idea, what a wonderful gift!!

    xoxo, Tanya

  13. Kelly Eclectically Vintage says:

    I have a conundrum – I can’t decide which one I prefer – the straight vodka or the vanilla extract!!

    Seriously, this looks amazing – and I’d love getting this in my stocking!


  14. Carol Reddin says:

    Great idea Vanessa and what a pretty package!!!

  15. Carol says:

    Love your idea for packaging the little bottles! Another way to get vanilla beans on the cheap is to have a son who is a chef — sorry, I just couldn’t resist! He gave me a large package earlier in the year, and I put together homemade vanilla back in the summer. I love to start giving them out to friends and neighbors around Thanksgiving, so they can start to use it immediately for their holiday goodies. I use the same vodka recipe as you, but years ago, I made some with rum which was very tasty, too!

  16. Teresa B. says:

    Well I need to get out more. I never knew you could make van extract by putting these two together. I love to make new and different things as gifts. Last year I shared some of my homemade beef seasoning. We use it all the time. Thanks for the great idea.

  17. [...] Vanessa’s Homemade Vanilla Extract [...]

  18. Moke says:

    I go through a lot of vanilla beans we make lots of flavored Liquors as presents and I purchase all of my vanilla beans online. From a amazon vendor named JR Mushrooms & Specialties. I usually buy 1lb at a time which is about 110 beans for 43.00. They also have a 4oz which is about about 27 beans for 16.00.

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