Vanilla Beans and Gifts

When it comes to gift giving, I am more of a practical person.  I like stuff I can use and maybe even re-use over and over again.  This past month I came across a deal at Amazon for 1/2 lb. of Madagascar Vanilla Beans for $24 plus free shipping.  I sometimes wonder if they price most things just below $25 in order to get you to buy something else…   Well, it was a great deal considering vanilla beans in catalogs and the store cost $5 each.

Here are a few fun and useful things you can do with Vanilla Beans:

1.  Make Vanilla Extract


3 vanilla  beans
1 cup vodka or rum

Directions:  Sterilize the jar by boiling it for 10 minutes.  Add vodka.  Split and scrape the beans.  Add the beans to the vodka and shake.  Place in a cool, dark place like the back of your pantry.  Shake once a week for 2 months!   That’s it.  I have the kids shake it for fun.

I used Zots to keep the ribbon in place on the 4 oz. jar.  I included a tag with instructions to shake once a week.  Once you get low on your vanilla extract, just add more vodka!  This will keep your extract going and going and going….

2.  Make Vanilla Sugar


1 vanilla bean
2 cups granulated sugar

Directions: Slice the bean down the middle and then scrape the seeds out.  Place bean and seeds in a jar with the sugar.  Whew that was some hard work!

Uses: coffee, tea, sugar cookie recipe, any recipe that has sugar and vanilla in it, creme brulee, waffles, muffins, candy, rolling cookies in it, dusting donuts or muffins, cocoa, etc.


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