Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Christmas in July with Gabriel's Good Tidings

Welcome to Christmas in July {now in August}! A fun Series to get us all inspired for my favorite holiday!
It is never too early to start planning for Christmas!  
Today we have Amy from Gabriel's Good Tidings

Wow!  I am so excited to be here today and consider it such a privilege to share with you today!  I'm Amy, and you can find me at Gabriel's Good Tidings where I share all kinds of sewing projects and home organization ideas.  I've been sewing ever since I was a teenager and can't imagine life without crafting.  I'm forever grateful to my mother and grandmothers for teaching me to love working with my hands.  I love to meet new people, so please stop by and say hello. 
Grab My Button

I made this for many of my family members for Christmas, so I couldn't post it until now, but stash it in your file for the holidays!

Background:  I lived in Africa from 2002 to 2004 as a missionary nurse, and many of the other Americans there would talk about making their own vanilla extract.  One of the European airlines, KLM I think, used to give out small bottles of vodka.  I would hear ladies talk of saving this vodka and adding a vanilla bean to it for holiday baking.  It intrigued me, but I never did it.

Fast forward to last October.  My friend Gabriele, who can make just about anything, told me about the same.  She helped me find a source for vanilla beans, and I was set.  I by no means claim to be a "Vanilla Making Expert", but I'm happy to share my experience and tips.

You will need:
  • Glass bottle (plastic will not work).  I used a vodka bottle.
  • Enough vodka to fill the glass bottle.  (Don't buy the cheapest brand, but don't get the most expensive either.  I used Smirnoff.)
  • Vanilla beans.  I got mine from a health food store.  Check around your area, or there are places online that sell vanilla beans.  I paid approximately $1 each.
  • Small bottles with lids (I used 2 oz) for giving.  I ordered from specialtybottle.com- $28 total for 30 bottles.  The bottles need to be dark to protect the vanilla from light.
My big bottle was 750 ml, and I used 9 vanilla beans.  The ratio works out to one vanilla bean to approximately 80 ml of vodka.

Vanilla beans are long and skinny- they looked like burnt asparagus to me.  Before putting them in your bottle, use a knife to slit them down the middle, but not all the way through.  This helps to expose all the sweet vanilla goodness in the middle of the beans.  Put the beans in your empty glass bottle.  Pour the vodka over the vanilla beans, until they are completely covered.  Put the glass bottle in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months, or longer.  The longer you let it sit, the better your vanilla will be.

Each day, more of the vodka will absorb the vanilla and the color will get darker and darker.  When you are ready to share some vanilla, give the bottle a gentle shake, and pour into the smaller bottles.  If you notice some grainy specs floating in the vanilla (like coffee or tea grounds), don't worry.  This is normal.  If you use a 750 ml bottle like me, you should have about 12-13 2 ounce bottles.

Add a personal label and give with joy!


Windie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Windie said...

what a neat idea! so do you leave the bottle of with the vanilla beans open for 2 months or seal it?

Shanea said...

Neat and vanilla is so expensive it would be great to receive as a gift. Thanks for sharing.

Nichole said...

I did this for Christmas last year and the ladies in my famiy loved it!!

I got my vanilla beans from myspicesage{dot}com. If you watch their site, they often give the beans away free with any purchase. I got 10 beans for under $10. Can't beat that!

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