I started making my own pure vanilla using this method. It's wonderful! I use only vodka (tried rum once, didn't care for the result). You can just cut the vanilla beans into thirds and slip them into the vodka; shake several times weekly and notice the color changing. As stated, the minimum time is weeks, but leave it as long as you can... months would be preferable. My guideline is once I can't smell the alcohol, it's pretty much ready. Homemade vanilla can take on a bit of a cloudy appearance, so don't be alarmed. You can strain a little of it at a time into a smaller bottle using a coffee filter, and let the rest hang out and get even stronger and better.
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I started making my own pure vanilla using this method. It's wonderful! I use only vodka...