Although vanilla extract is fairly easy to come by, the stuff made at home is superior in flavor and will last virtually forever. I like to make up a big batch at once and bottle to give away to friends. Dark vanilla extract bottles work well for storing. Simply scrub off the labels and replace them with new!
5 cups bourbon (vodka works well, too)
12 vanilla beans, split
Pour 5 cups of bourbon into a clean jar or bottle. Place the vanilla beans into the bottle of bourbon and reseal tightly. Place in cool dark place, such as a pantry, and store for 3 months. After three months, you can either use it straight from the bottle or bottle individually, leaving at least 1 vanilla bean in each bottle. As the bottle becomes empty, replace with more bourbon. After one year, replace the vanilla beans with new. Store in airtight container.