Vanilla beans are the original way to add vanilla flavor, still preferred by many chefs. For any application, simply split the whole vanilla bean lengthwise with a knife and scrape the vanilla seeds into your batter. The bean adds a delicate vanilla flavor to desserts and any cream-based savory sauce, pairing especially well with shellfish. After splitting the vanilla bean and scraping it out, put the stalk of the vanilla bean into the sauce and let it simmer with the mix.
Never throw out a vanilla bean. If the bean dries out, simply rehydrate it with some hot water or vodka, and use normally. If you have already scraped the seeds from the vanilla bean, put the stalk into your sugar container for a sweet and creamy vanilla essence.
You can also added vanilla bean seeds from the pod to any batter alongside a traditional vanilla extract.
A great way to use vanilla beans is to make your own extract by combining three split vanilla beans into a fifth of flavorless vodka and letting it sit for at least a month. Although this will never produce the flavor intensity of a manufactured vanilla extract, it can be a great way to make a one-of-a-kind vanilla blend. Try combining beans from different regions to produce a unique blend.
Madagascar vanilla carries the most recognizable flavor profile. No wonder: Madagascar produces more than 95 percent of the world’s vanilla. Though vanilla originates from Mexico, Bourbon Vanilla takes its name from the island of Réunion (formerly Île Bourbon) just east of Madagascar. This was the region French colonists began to cultivate vanilla.
The profile of Madagascar’s Bourbon vanilla beans is rich and musky. Beans are typically 8-11 inches in length.
Particularly wonderful in cooked custards and home-made ice cream, and any dessert or sweets. The vanilla bean can also be chopped and cooked in savory sauces for meats. Vanilla bean seeds add elegance to cheesecakes and custards. One inch of a vanilla bean is equivalent to one teaspoon of extract.