Last year I purchased 2 fresh vanilla beans from my local grocery store that ran me $6. I used them in some fresh homemade icecream with only the vanilla beans as flavouring(minus the sugar ofcourse). About 3 weeks ago I went online and purchased a pack of 20 fresh fair trade vanilla beans for $11(that's with shipping). The recipes is very simple: 345ml(a mickey) of Vodka - cheapest you can find 1 Mason Jar - sterilized 4 fresh vanilla beans Sterlize the Jar, fill it with the vodka, split the beans down the middle and open them up, and then throw them in the jar. Shake it once a day for the first two weeks, then once a week for the next 3-6 months. It's really that simple. In total I will have 345ml of fresh vanilla extract, at which 'real' vanilla extract sells at $10 for about 100ml. I posted 2 pictures here. The first one is the Vanilla Extract after just one week and you can see it's already taking on a good colour. The one on the left is a mason jar filled with white sugar with a split vanilla bean in the middle. After 2-3 months this will turn into vanilla sugar and you can use it with your homemade vanilla extract in any recipe like pancakes, muffins, squares, whatever you want.