Saturday, April 7, 2012

the glorious vanilla bean

i have quickly learned that one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen is a vanilla bean.
there is just something magical about this glorious little bean
that packs so much flavor and sweetness into it's little shell.

only problem: when i was trying out my first recipe with the seeds
of a vanilla bean i had NO idea what to do. typical ;)

i don't know about you, but when i don't know
the answer to something there are pretty much 3 options:
1. the bible
2. wikipedia
3. youtube

and so... i watched this little tutorial....
(that i hope will help you as well!)

here are my step by step tips and instructions as well:

1. buy your vanilla beans.

after searching high and low i have found the cheapest
vanilla beans you can find are at whole foods
(surprising, i know!)

at fred meyer 1 vanilla bean is $12.99 (ridiculous)
at whole foods 1 vanilla bean is $3.99 (still expensive, but reasonable)

2. flatten out the bean with your fingers the best you can
sometimes you need to turn to the other side to find the best even surface

3. take your knife and make a long slit from one end to the other,
pressing hard enough to pierce the top layer of the bean,
but not so hard that you are cutting through the bottom

it should look like so...

4. next, i like to pull the sides back with my fingers slightly, like so...

5 then, i place the sharp end of my knife face down and run it
from one end to the other, applying steady pressure, scraping the beans as i go

6. many times, even after your first scrape,
you'll want to go back over it once or twice in certain spots

7. afterwards, your bean should be long and flat and have no seeds remaining

8. now... obviously you are going to use your seeds for your recipe,
BUT i've also learned that you can use your remaining bean for lots of creative things as well.

*vanilla sugar
(i almost always do this now...
just throw your empty vanilla beans into a ziplock bag with about 1 cup of sugar.
makes super tasty sugar to use for special things here and there!)
*making vanilla vodka
*making your own extract
*flavoring mulled bevies, lemonade, etc

fun facts about vanilla:
*it's grown from an orchid
(who knew??)
*vanilla is the 2nd most expensive spice, only to saffron
*vanilla beans are hand-pollinated
(which is why they are so expensive)

so, that my friends, might be everything you wanted to know about vanilla and MORE :)

so, are you ready to try them out??? :)

1 comment:

  1. I was shocked by the price at FM too. I found cost plus world market has 2 for $2.99 the cheapest I have found so far:)


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