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Aromatic DIY Gift Ideas Using Vanilla Beans

Updated on September 27, 2013
Aromatic DIY Gift Ideas Using Vanilla Beans
Aromatic DIY Gift Ideas Using Vanilla Beans | Source

Triple The Pleasure ~

Scenario 1

Ever been caught off guard thinking of an unexpected gift? I bet you have, we have all had that last minute unexpected invite to dinner, party or been given a helping hand that you may feel warrants a small “thank you”.

Scenario 2

You have started making some homemade beauty products, love vanilla but boy is it expensive. You know there are many synthetic copies around and don’t want to be duped. Bugger! What do you do as you want to make a range of vanilla based products as a special gift for your sister this Christmas?

Scenario 3

My family is full of foodies and so hard to buy for, honestly! My brother is an aspiring Michelin Star chef; my mom only buys the very best ingredients and loves spending time in her kitchen baking and my other half? Well he just loves his expensive homemade cappuccinos.

Any of those ring a bell? Let me introduce you to your very own solutions to all of the above scenarios and give you easy gift ideas for foodies, beauty lovers and of course for you, the reader.

4 simple recipes with vanilla beans may be utilized by the recipient in many different ways or form the base of other gift ideas for you to give.

The Vanilla Bean

depending on how many you need you may purchase in bulk
depending on how many you need you may purchase in bulk | Source

Bean Tips ~

Vanilla beans are graded in quality and the two most popular are Grade A and Grade B.

Grade A are the top deluxe glossy ones that many will be familiar with. Chefs will favor these beans. Their price also reflects their quality and they will be the crème de la crème in scent and flavor.

Grade B are a little less glossy, drier in appearance and may be a little split from too long in the sun during the drying out time. The benefits are they have a more concentrated flavor and because they have less moisture, you get more beans in weight. I would recommend going with them.

The Flower and The Bean

aromatic beauty of vanilla
aromatic beauty of vanilla | Source

A Green Bean or Vanilla Bean?

did you know it was a green bean before it is harvested and dried?
did you know it was a green bean before it is harvested and dried? | Source

Vanilla Extract Gifts ~

Foodies everywhere will love this gift. Vanilla extract is so widely used in dishes around the world and prices vary considerably depending on the quality, origin and grade of the bean used. We all know it has uses in baking goodies but did you know these ones?

Deodorizing Microwave - For any strong odors after cooking pour a little extract into a bowl and zap it on high for a minute.

Freshen Up Fridge – do you have a bad odor that refuses to go away? No essential oil handy? Clean down the fridge with vanilla extract. You can even leave a small cotton ball soaked in extract inside for extra aroma.

Room Freshener – Want that baking smell wafting around? Put a couple of drops of vanilla extract on a light bulb and turn the light on. Voilà, instant vanilla air freshener.

Bug Repellent – mix a tablespoon of extract with a cup of water and wipe this over exposed skin to keep the nasties away including mosquitoes, ticks and blackflies.

Relieves Minor Burns – For that splash of hot grease on the skin or touching a hot pan dab some extract on. The alcohol will evaporate and soothe the burn.

For the homemade beauty product enthusiast, this makes a great addition for their ingredients supply. Genuine Vanilla Absolute is costly for using in toiletries such as in lip balm, perfume, face scrubs and body lotions. Using an organic vanilla extract is an excellent substitute for vanilla fans.

Making Vanilla Extract

simple ingredients and equipment
simple ingredients and equipment | Source

Splitting The Bean

this relases the intoxicating scent of vanilla from the seeds
this relases the intoxicating scent of vanilla from the seeds | Source

Bottle Up

make gifts in one go - easy!
make gifts in one go - easy! | Source

Aromatic Vanilla Extract ~

2 - 4 organic vanilla beans

1 cup vodka (medium strength)

1 large glass jar for infusing

glass pyrex jug (optional)

small funnel (optional)

smaller jars or bottles for finished extract

cheesecloth (fine mesh will do)

Method:

  • Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and leave the seeds intact.
  • Add them to the jar and cover with the vodka.
  • Secure with lid and give a little shake.
  • Leave to infuse for 6-8 weeks, the longer the better extract this will produce.
  • Keep checking the strength and if you need to add another bean during the process then do.
  • When you are happy with the strength, strain through cheesecloth into your gift bottles or use a glass pyrex jug and then pour into your bottles or jars.
  • To make your gifts even more appealing, add a vanilla bean into each bottle.


Suzie’s Easy Peasy Vanilla Extract ~

booze

organic vanilla beans

nice jars or bottles

Method:

  • Decide on your booze of choice. Vodka is my preference as it is colorless and flavorless but you can be creative and use light rum, dark rum, brandy or bourbons.
  • Fill small jars with your alcohol. The amount of jars is up to you, depending on how many gifts you need to make. Remember to make yourself one or two while you are at it!
  • Split vanilla beans lengthwise and add 1-3 beans per jar, depending on the size of jar, the strength you desire and how generous you are feeling.
  • You can chop the beans up if you like for added variety.
  • Allow 6-8 weeks of “chill out time” to make this, so worth remembering this ahead of time. For ideal Christmas gifts October is a good time to start prepping for your delicious extract.
  • You can remove some of the beans but I would leave one in it as it looks the business and keeps adding flavor and smells heavenly.

Sugar and Spice . . All Things Nice

mason jars make ideal gift containers or storage jars for your own supply
mason jars make ideal gift containers or storage jars for your own supply | Source

Regular Granulated Sugar

perfectly priced and useful for home cooking and DIY skin scrubs
perfectly priced and useful for home cooking and DIY skin scrubs | Source

Vanilla Sugar Gift ~

This sweet gift using granulated or castor sugar is perfect for the bakers who frequently use these types of sugars in their baked goods, deserts or drinks.

The coffee or tea enthusiast will love the bonus of the vanilla in their cuppa. You can be as creative as you like with sugars and make it to suit your budget.

It is a terrific idea as a last minute unexpected gift as it does not take as long as the extract to infuse. When this jar of sweetness is opened the smell is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

This is an excellent gift for all the DIY beauty fans and a must for your own skin care recipes you may want to gift.

Having a jar of granulated or brown sugar already infused means your body scrubs, face scrubs, foot scrubs and lip scrubs are easily made for you or as gifts. Why not do a jar half brown and half granulated for a new textured supply?

Vanilla Sugar ~

granulated or brown sugar or

castor sugar (for baking)

organic vanilla beans

sterilized glass jar or jars

Method:

  • The quantities of ingredients will vary depending on how many gifts you want to make and the size of the jars.
  • Split some beans lengthwise and cut beans in half. Pop them in as you pour your sugar in so the beans are at different levels.
  • Close lid of jar and give your sugar a good shake.
  • Leave in a cool dark place for a few days.
  • Your scented and flavoured sugar is ready to go.
  • You can customize this for the individual.

Salt Scrubs

make your own vanilla infused salt for a variety of beauty products
make your own vanilla infused salt for a variety of beauty products | Source

Beneficial Salt

salt exfoliating scrubs will remove dead skin cells just as sugar scrubs do. More suited to the body and feet than the face.
salt exfoliating scrubs will remove dead skin cells just as sugar scrubs do. More suited to the body and feet than the face. | Source

Vanilla Salt Gifts ~

Made in the same way as the sugar, this is perfect for the ultimate foodies in your life. The ones that probably have bottles of different oils, dressings and vinegars either homemade or perhaps collected from all over the globe.

Those friends or family that love experimenting would appreciate this little bottle of difference. For an extra special idea choose the spicier vanilla beans that hail from Tonga or Uganda for Vanilla Salt gifts if it is the ultimate enthusiast. Vanilla in a more savory form is the result and makes an interesting addition to delicate seafood’s, meats or vegetables.

For skin care recipes, the flavor does not matter and the same bean used in the extract or sugar is perfectly fine. Vanilla scented body scrubs of salt or shower gels, body washes, foot soaks or foot exfoliating scrubs are perfect with salt already infused. You could add a little extract and vanilla sugar for a real vanilla kick!

Vanilla Salt ~

sea salt (or another flaky salt)

organic vanilla beans

small sterilized glass jar or jars

Method:

  • Split a vanilla bean and add it to the jar.
  • Fill up the jar with salt and screw on your lid.
  • Give it a good shake and leave it in a cool dark place for a couple of days.

Vanilla planifolia

stunning flower that ends up a bean
stunning flower that ends up a bean | Source

Vanilla Gift Tips and Suggestions ~

Decide who you want to gift to before purchasing ingredients, it will save you money if you buy in bulk rather than small quantities.

Don’t forget to gift YOURSELF one of each that you can use in cooking and for beauty products. More cost saving.

If someone special cooks and loves making their own personal products, why not give them one of each?

These make perfect low priced gifts the kids can “make” and give to family members such as aunts, uncles, grandparents or cousins. They will get such a kick out of this and smelling the vanilla in the jars. It can be educational fun for them!

Kids can get creative with decorating the container (under your guidance if they are very young) with a label, ribbon, string, tape, glitter, buttons, stickers, paint or whatever you like.

Buying vanilla beans can be pricy in the regular shops so check out online for better deals and quality. It pays to buy organic and considering the different uses you have for them they can work out very reasonable.

Sugar does not have to be costly and granulated is widely used in both cooking, in drinks and for skin care treatments.

You can be creative with your containers such as vintage, retro or decanter style ones. Equally, recycle some of those glass jars small ingredients come in such as dried herbs, spices, old food coloring bottles, baby food or honey.

Food for Thought . . . .

Taking the simple vanilla bean with its powerful, warming and aromatic scent you can create a whole host of ideas from these three basic recipes of an extract, a sugar or a salt. No more being stuck for that gift or not using vanilla when you love the fragrance.

"Creating health awareness through homemade beauty solutions"

Inspiration in a Jar

rustle up some favor ideas
rustle up some favor ideas | Source

Author Info ~

Information on the author, her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ

Credit to homesteadbound ~

All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs

© 2013 Suzanne Ridgeway

Aromatic DIY Gift Ideas Using Vanilla Beans

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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Aww, these are really great ideas. I love vanilla myself, particularly the scent in soap and any kind of air freshener or incense. There are a lot of good ideas to tackle here. Great hub!

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 3 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      Hey there. Love the hub. Really like the ideas and links for different scrubs too. will be trying those out. Nicely set out hub. Thanks a lot for all the effort.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is an irresistible idea! I do make my own extracts and now that a friend whose parents live on Tahiti gave me a load of vanilla beans, I'm going to also make some vanilla scented salt scrub. Why didn't I think of that? It also struck me that vanilla infused rum would be the perfect thing for my rum cakes, so I'm going to link to this Hub. Thanks so much! Voted up and shared.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Crystal.

      Many thanks for taking time to read and comment. Love your reasons for enjoying the hub . . . . particularly bugger!! LOL Oops! Appreciate your input as ever my friend!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Stephanie,

      So glad to hear you enjoyed these ideas and hopefully will try them out as gifts! Appreciate your support as always!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Lastheart,

      Thanks so much for dropping in! Delighted you enjoyed this so much and hope you get to give it a go sometime !

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi GTF,

      I loved the simplicity but fabulous quality in this type of gift! Definitely a certain this Christmas for me!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      There are many things I love about this hub: 1) Great, inexpensive gift ideas. 2) The information that you can clean your fridge with vanilla extract. 3) Booze as an ingredient. 4) And most of all, the use of the word bugger!! Awesome job as always.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Really well done and an always timely topic. This is great coverage for the natural use of one ingredient. My favorites are vanilla sugar and the scrubs.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      I love these ideas. I am always trying to have a pleasant aroma around the house by spraying, lighting up smelly candles and all sort of things. Thanks for sharing this. Great!!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      What a great idea for the holiday! I love this and will definitely be trying it. Thanks.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi teaches,

      These are so simple yet so useful with the gorgeous vanilla bean! So glad you enjoyed and are keen to try the bug zapping one! Appreciate your comment as always!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      With the holidays approaching, these ideas would make great gifts. I am going to try the bug repellant idea. How simple and very practical.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Eddy,

      Hope these prove of use to you, cheers for taking a stroll here!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another useful and interesting hub.

      Eddy.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      Thanks for stopping in on this one, I love Vanilla and in a room it is gorgeous. I used it when my apt was up for rent a few months ago. A perfect opportunity to test it out! Hope you try the extract and you will reap the benefits in recipes. Appreciate your enthusiasm my friend as always!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Ms Stratford,

      Lovely to see these ideas were useful and give you some new ideas for yourself or others. The extract does need a bit of time to infuse so it is a good one to start now or before you need it for baking or recipes for skin care or perfume. Glad you had a nice relaxing weekend. it must be strange just being friends now, don't know if I could do lunches, dinner etc and live in the same apt after everything so good on you if you are finding it okay.

      Cheers so much for checking in and commenting, love hearing from you, you are always close in my thoughts Kathryn.

      Appreciate your thumbs up, share and pin!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Janet,

      Many thanks for popping in. Vanilla really is one scent that is hard to beat and these ideas are so simple to make for yourself or for gifts. Having them pre-prepared also sets up a host of ideas be they cookery recipes or skin care gifts!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Vanilla is a fantastic neutral scent that most people find pleasant. If you're selling a house, it's a good idea to keep it on hand before people walk through in order to rid the home of any cooking, pet or other odors that you're not aware of. I did not know you could make your own vanilla extract so easily. It is so expensive in upscale spice stores; I'll be making my own from now on thanks to you! Great hub!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      What a great selection of gift ideas using vanilla beans! I am definitely coming back to check this out in the future.

      Thanks for sharing these ideas with us, and I hope your weekend is going well.

      I went out with Andy yesterday (as friends) to a cute place in town, and we had a great lunch together. This morning I got up early and walked way down the street to enjoy a relaxing long walk. I was going to watch the sunrise, but it was foggy out. So instead I enjoyed the fog, and listening to the fog horns. On my way back, I watched a huge group of people running. It was a 5K for breast cancer, and I was amazed at the amount of people that got up super early to participate in it. They were an excited bunch, and there were pink balloons and music everywhere!

      Anyway, I'm having a great weekend.

      Voted up and sharing! (I also pinned it. I just signed up for Pinterest :) )

      ~ Kathryn

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      Thank you for sharing these wonderful vanilla beans gift ideas. Vanilla is a flavor nearly everyone loves so I think many people would be delighted to receive it as a gift.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Shauna,

      Great to see you hope your weekend is going well. Absolutely, liquor with vanilla infused . . . very tasty for drinks, cocktails, sauces and adding to dishes. Glad you enjoyed these recipes, appreciate your support :-)

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rose,

      Thrilled to hear you learn from my hubs. Hope you find time to whip up some of these for the home or as gifts, so easy but so good!! Many thanks for your comments!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Silva,

      Many thanks for your comment, delighted to see you enjoyed. Appreciate your support :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Suzie, I had no idea vanilla extract can be used for all the tips you mention in this article.

      In addition to the uses you mention, I would guess that infusing your favorite liquor with vanilla would add a refreshing twist to your drink!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I learned so much about vanilla from this article! As always, the range of recipes here is impressive. There is truly something for everyone. No one will have to worry about homemade gift ideas this year!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      What a great hub! Chock full of information and the timing is perfect (Christmas is coming)! Thank you.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Lovely to see you and so glad to see Bill mention you in his hub this week. You are a great example of niche writing and your articles are truly special with your own stunning photographs. If you are a coffee (Italian coffee perhaps??) lover you may enjoy the vanilla sugar to have in it or even in a cup of tea.Appreciate you sharing, pinning and giving it the thumbs up!!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Ah my good buddy, no day is complete until I "chat" with you. Loved your work this week (so far 2 read! I know , I am lagging behind! ) you never fail us. So you enjoyed my opening intro?? Wow, I have been working on the intros and so glad you are approving of them, means so much as you were the one who highlighted to us the importance of them and the average attention span. Grabbing my readers is what I am trying to do with each article. Tonight I really was not sure what intro to do and this just came to me. MJ says hi to his Sir Bill and he has not forgotten you! How could he anyway???!!! LOL

      Cheers for your kind words now go have a great break for the weekend!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hey Suzie. You are pumping these hubs out faster than I can read them :) I love the aroma of vanilla. Never knew you could make vanilla slat and sugar, how interesting. I learned something new today.

      Another great job, keep them coming. Voted up, shared, pinned ,etc.. Have a great weekend.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi AK,

      Many thanks! Good to see you love this scent too and hope these easy "recipes" will be useful to you.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Crystal,

      Me too! I decided months ago I was going to go down this road. Perfume and body products are easily made for gifts or lip balms are dead easy too and perfect for stocking fillers, young girls, anyone really. Making some extract now is good for perfumes or making perfumes made of alcohol as gifts take similar time to infuse and need planning in advance. Thanks for commenting and glad you liked my boozy one! LOL

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's me again, here to spread nonsense and childish remarks. Please, don't try to thank me; it's the least I can do for a friend. :)

      Loved the introduction. You write great introductions; how come I can't get other writers to understand the importance of that first paragraph?

      Ah heck, I'm done for the day. Have a great weekend my friend and tell MJ I said hey.

      bill

    • profile image

      AK Chenoweth 3 years ago

      Excellent hub! Vanilla is one of my favs, thank you for posting...

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      I'm leaning towards more DIY gifts this year for Christmas and these are great suggestions. I particularly like the recipe that calls for booze :)