The rich, sweet scent of vanilla is one many of us find familiar and comforting. Making your own vanilla extract is easy and economical, but you do need to be patient as it takes a couple of months to infuse.
Use it to make this versatile spray, which freshens up bedlinen and doubles up as a body and hair mist (any leftover extract can be dabbed on as a perfume or added to cakes, of course).
DIY VANILLA EXTRACT
8 whole vanilla pods (fresh with a strong smell of vanilla)
500ml spiced rum (such as Captain Morgan or any good-quality brandy, unflavoured vodka, bourbon or dark rum)
Pint-size mason jar with lid
Slice each vanilla pod lengthwise and chop into tiny pieces. Add the chopped vanilla to the mason jar, then fill the jar with rum. Place a piece of cling film over the top of the jar and screw on the lid. Shake for one minute.Store the jar in a dark cabinet for two months, shaking daily for 10–15 seconds. There’s no need to strain the vanilla bits, just leave in the jar. The flavouring will get stronger and more aromatic as it ages.
2 tbsp vanilla extract*
2 tbsp purified water
Add the vanilla extract and water to a 60ml dark glass spritzer bottle, screw on the top, and shake vigorously. Set aside for 24 hours. Store at room temperature away from heat and light and use within one year. Shake before spritzing on sheets and pillowcases.
Recipe from Making Love Potions by Stephanie L Tourles (Storey).
* If you don’t have time to make your own, use an extract made with Madagascar Bourbon or Tahitian vanilla pods.