Make Your Own Kitchen Infusions. An infusion is created when you extract flavors from plant parts without heating the liquid you are using. You can use water, vinegar,alcohol or oils to make infusions. For example, you can make you own homemade vanilla by cutting 3 or 4 vanilla beans open long ways and then adding them to a bottle of vodka, rum, brandy or other alcoholic liquid and then letting it sit in a dark place for a couple of months and just giving the bottle a shake every so often. At the end of 2 months you will have a vanilla infusion that you can use as vanilla extract in recipes. The longer you let the beans steep the stronger your vanilla flavor will be. This is a good way to make a lot of vanilla. The infusion once it gets to the strength you like can be rebottled in smaller bottles and you can even gift small bottles. I like this homemade vanilla so much better than what you get at store. I make a bottle every couple of years. When ever I finish one I start a new bottle and I always have two going.
You can also cut a couple of the beans the same way and then bury them in a container of sugar, after a while the sugar will become infused with the vanilla flavor which is really great when making cookies. Mountain Rose Blog shares some infusion recipes for infused vinegar, infused oils, infused butters and infused salt. Infusing is super easy to do and will save you quite a bit of money in the kitchen as buying the parts or growing the plants and putting them together with the liquids and letting them steep usually makes a lot of which ever infusion you make and ends up costing a lot less, plus you can make the infusion you like by adding 2 or more things to your liquid to create the flavor you want.