Vanilla comes from an orchid that is grown mostly in Mexico. That's why people always bring back vanilla from Mexico when they go. I did, and it was delicious.
All you need are vanilla beans, plain vodka, and nice jars.
Clean and dry the jars. I know it seems weird to dry the jars when you are going to pour liquid in them, but we want them as sanitary as we can get them.
Take a vanilla bean and slice it down one side, without cutting through to the other. Separate the opening a little bit. Put the bean in the jar. Pour vodka into the jar until it covers the bean. Place the lid on the jar. Store it in a dark place for at least two weeks. Give the jars a little shake every now and then to distribute the vanilla. You want the liquid to be dark. I think mine needs some more time.
Use as you would regular vanilla extract.
Another use of the vanilla bean pod is to put one in a cup of sugar. Let the vanilla bean infuse the sugar with the flavor of vanilla. Use this special sugar sprinkled on top of cupcakes or donuts. It is wonderful!