Grocery stores often sell vanilla beans in packages of one or two. For bulk beans, try online.
- 15 Bourbon or Madagascar vanilla beans*
- 1 bottle (750 milliliters) vodka
Slit: Use a small sharp knife to slit the vanilla beans lengthwise. Slip the beans into the bottle of vodka. Close and store in a cool dark cupboard. (Consider sliding the bottle back into its paper bag.)
Wait: Let rest 3 (or more) weeks. Shake a few times per week.
Strain: Set a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a quart-size measuring cup. Strain extract. Pour strained extract into small glass (preferably dark) bottles. If you like, add a length of vanilla bean to each small bottle. Leave as is, or get fancy with the labeling.
Repeat. You can continue to add vodka to your original bottle for a time; eventually the beans will have given their all.