The second part of Preparing for Christmas deals with Vanilla. Earlier in the year I bought a quarter of a pound of vanilla pods (you can buy them in bulk on ebay!) Vanilla pods and real extract are appallingly expensive, yet you can buy, in bulk, for comparatively little. At the minute a small bottle of vanilla extract retails at about €7.50, and organic vanilla pods a little less. I use enormous quantities of vanilla essence, and it is indeed a real luxury item (but one I try not do without)
1 bottle of vodka
(I bought a bottle in Lidl for around €10) (I had originally made this with brandy, but it took much longer for the brandy flavour to be overwhelmed by the vanilla, whereas the vodka, one month later, has a strong vanilla flavour)
Several vanilla pods
So super easy!: just stuff several pods into the vodka. Label and date, and leave for as long as possible. By Christmas, this should be exceptional!
Also super easy!! In a Kilner jar, fill with sugar. Push a few pods into the sugar, label and date! By Christmas, this should be incredibly, sweetly vanilla-y. Make sure to make lots of these, another really lovely present!
Vanilla and Coconut Oil
This is a little more difficult… ( 😉 ) : gently melt the oil in a double boiler until soft enough to push a few pods into the oil. Label and date.
I am working up to a whole coconut oil post, so just do this now, and by the time I write it, this will be lovely and fragrant, and ready to use (I get so excited by the possibilities of coconut oil, so I have to try gather my thoughts and articulate them in a way that’s not a rushing torrent of “wow”s, “fantastic”s and “life-changing”s)
So just go, go, go! You will be thanking me profusely by December… And so will the recipients of your gifts… And now, I promise, promise, not another MENTION of C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s for another…oh, four months 🙂
I was given a bottle of homemade vanilla essence for Christmas, and I’m only just about to break into it. It should be REALLY good by now.
But you are so disgustingly organized to be doing this – and blogging about it, for heaven’s sake – that I’m not sure I can talk to you any more.
(But I probably will because I lurve you.)
Great ideas, Emily. I don’t think I’ll be ready for this Christmas but I’ll be ready to buy my vanilla pods in bulk in July 2014!!!!!
Ah Joanna!!!! They take the sum total of two minutes each, ha ha!
Christine, lurve you too… 🙂 If you knew me, you would realise this is the result of several years (stretching into decades) that I have told myself to do these things… Organised, I am, sadly, not!!!!!!
To make vanilla salt, follow the directions above for vanilla sugar, only replacing the sugar with one pound of salt. Voila! Another great gift idea.