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From the garden of Beth DiGioia

Just in Time for Holiday Gifting: Homemade Vanilla Extract

1.) Slice open ten vanilla beans lengthwise, and with the back of the knife, scrape the inside to extract the tiny, sticky, black seeds inside (the seeds contain the flavor).

2.) Place both the scraped pod and the tiny seeds into a 750 ml bottle of Vodka.

3.) Store in a cool, dark place and shake the bottle every day.

4.) After one month, strain the seeds and pour the finished extract into pretty bottles.  Include one pod in each bottle.  Apply labels noting the year the vanilla was made.

Note:  Beware of the large bottle of vanilla that are sold along the Mexican border.  Many of these are synthetic vanilla and some contain coumarin, a substance that is outlawed in the United States.

For more information about gardening, visit our McKinney Gardens page

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