1. Vanilla beans (available at your grocery store with the spices)
3. A glass container to hold the vanilla
4. A sharp knife
5. Something to remind you once a week (app on your phone, perhaps?)
6. (optional) A funnel or measuring glass to help pour the vodka into the container
Start by cutting your beans in half (so I had two long beans and cut them in half to make four small beans)
Then using your knife, start 1/4" from one end and carefully slice the bean in half lengthwise.
Place the beans into your container (I just used the same container the beans originally came in), and pour in your vodka. The original post recommends 6-8 vanilla bean pieces (or 3 to 4 whole beans) with 8 ounces of vodka.
And now... the waiting game. Place your container in a dark, cool place (like the back of the pantry) and once a week, shake the container. How long do you have to do this? Well, 6 weeks is fine but if you wait 8 weeks, the flavor and color will be more intense. Here's what mine looked like week by week:
You can see the gradual change in color week by week, but you have to be patient (and you have to remember to shake it -- I had to set a reminder on my phone for the same day/time every week). Have fun making your own vanilla extract -- these would be great gifts come the holiday season!
TOTAL COSTS: About $18 (but I also bought a 750ml bottle!)
$5.99 for vanilla beans from Whole Foods
$11.99 for Smirnoff vodka from BevMo
TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 6-8 weeks
You can start using the vanilla around the 6 week mark but I recommend waiting another two weeks so you can have a richer flavor!
EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 1 out of 5
You're not doing much of anything, it's the vodka and vanilla that's doing all the work!