Let’s just say it: Vanilla Beans aren’t cheap. They never have been cheap but a series of natural disasters in 2017 saw the price sky rocket.
The problem is, sometimes you just need a vanilla pod for a recipe regardless of the price.
Given that the price is so high it is important to get the most of your precious vanilla bean and so here are a few ways you can go ‘nose-to-tail’ thinking with your investment.
Once you have scraped the seeds out of the vanilla bean it will still have quite a large number of seeds stuck in the pod. These can be used to fragrance sugar. Just take an old jam jar and place caster sugar inside. Add the vanilla pod and give it a stir / shake and over time the seeds will flavour the sugar. Vanilla sugar is sometimes an ingredient in recipes but you can also use it to sprinkle over cookies prior to baking or whenever a recipe asks for plain sugar and you think that the addition of a little vanilla would work well.
Take your next mojito to the next refreshing level and use homemade spiced rum. Simply take your used vanilla bean and place it inside a bottle of dark rum, letting it sit for a couple of weeks minimum. The vanilla flavours the rum and adds a delicious level of flavour.
Homemade Vanilla Extract:
If you use a lot of vanilla beans than making your own vanilla extract is a good way to use a bunch of beans that may have otherwise be thrown away. Take about 5 or 6 of your used vanilla beans and place in a jar with 250 ml of vodka. Use more vodka if you need to, to cover the beans. Then just let it sit for at least 6 months (it can last forever, really). Boom! Vanilla extract.