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For those of you who watch Food Network you will remember two season's ago Kelsey Nixon who was one of the contestants. She didn't make the finals but now has a show on the Cooking Channel called Kelsey's Essentials. On the episode today she did five recipes, three of which were simple gift recipes you can do in jars. Cherry Pie in a Jar, Salted Caramel Sauce, and Homemade Vanilla Extract.

I had seen these recipes posted before but it always gives you a boost when they are demonstrated in video or on tv. Kelsey did a great job of not only doing the recipes in the jars but also putting together recipes you can do to use these gifts. Here is the link to this specific episode: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/kelseys-essentials/food-gifts/index.html

One of the recipes that didn't get listed on the site was the recipe for homemade Vanilla Extract. This is one recipe that I have been dying to try and now I am. Here is the recipe and the process.
Keep vanilla extract in a cool, dark place, with the bottle tightly closed, to prevent evaporation and loss of flavor. Vanilla extract has an indefinite shelf life.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

5 whole Vanilla beans
16 ounces of Vodka

Photo from Ruthie Hansen on Flickr
Split Vanilla beans down the center to exposed the pods and put them into a pint size jar. Add Vodka to the jar and screw on ring and lid. Store in a dark cool place shaking the jar at least twice a week.  After a month minimum the extract will be ready to use. If you do have some evaporation add more vodka to the jar leaving the vanilla beans in the jar. Shake the jar before using the extract each time.

You are looking for this beautiful amber color. The longer the bean is in the vodka the darker the color.



 

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