I always see homemade vanilla recipes out during Christmas time. It would make a wonderful gift. This year I decided to try it, but lo and behold, you have to let it sit in your cupboard for 3 months. Well, now it it spring and not really gift giving season. I have just given some of mine away as a "hey you are cool, do you want some homemade vanilla?" gift. Whatever works. It certainly won't go bad anytime soon, so you could save it for Christmas.
I bought my vanilla beans on amazon, because where I live, it seems to be hard to find them. I was very happy with them, they came nice and soft. I read somewhere that a hard, brittle vanilla bean isn't fresh and you shouldn't use it. There are also 3 types of vanilla beans. I used Madagascar vanilla beans, because that is what amazon sold at what I thought was a reasonable price for vanilla beans. (It has taken me a long time to justify spending money on vanilla beans. When they came, I treated them like gold and made everyone smell them). I also used UV vodka. It was cheap and came in a big bottle.
Homemade Vanilla adapted from Joy the Baker
1 pint vodka
6 vanilla beans
Slit the 6 vanilla beans down the middle and place in pint glass jar. Fill jar with vodka. Close lid tightly and store in a cool dark place for 3 months.
After three months, you may want to dispense them in pretty jars...or not. I totally handed my friend a mason jar full of vanilla and it was cool.