I was surprised to find out that most store bought vanilla contains multiple corn ingredients. Fortunately, it was already my desire to make homemade vanilla for Christmas gifts, so I had already been researching how to do so! All I needed to do to make sure that I was able to enjoy it too was to make sure that my recipe was corn free.
Like most of my recipes, making your own vanilla is SUPER easy and will yield a product 100x more delicious than what you buy in stores. Better still, you can rest assured because you know every ingredient that went into it!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
1/4 lb. vanilla beans (I used Madagascar Bourbon beans, and found the best price at Olive Nation)
1 Liter of Chopin vodka (can also use Ciroc)
Cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise and then in half the other way (so cut them in half vertically and horizontally). Put the equivalent of three whole vanilla beans in each 4 oz. bottle and pour enough vodka over the beans to cover them. Cap and shake the bottles vigorously, then store in a cool, dark area (like the back of your pantry) for 2-6 months. Of course, the longer you store it, the stronger the flavor will be.
Note: A great thing about making homemade vanilla is you can just keep pouring vodka over the vanilla beans as you use the vanilla and the one bottle will last you about 3 years! Just make sure you keep the beans covered with liquor at all times.
*Any bottles used to store vanilla should NOT be clear as the light that gets into the bottle will harm the vanilla. I used amber bottles from Specialty Bottle when making mine.