Did you know that vanilla is one of the favorite flavors of Americans? It is one flavor, which every generation loves to feast upon. It’s ethereal, earthy and evokes feelings of comfort and warmth. Vanilla beans are considered the queens of the vanilla family and they are highly versatile. Users can use these beans in various ways for preparing both sweet and savory dishes. Some of the ways to use the beans are making vanilla extract and powder or using bean pods in their usual form.
You will find different kinds of vanilla beans in the marketplace with different flavors. The popular varieties are Madagascar, Tahitian and Indonesian. All these beans are high-grade beans and have different flavors right from fruity and floral to buttery. Usually, people buy the beans for preparing homemade vanilla ice-creams, pancakes, puddings, frosting, etc. Some buy these beans for preparing homemade vanilla extract or vanilla powder. For preparing both vanilla powder and extract, it is necessary to scrape out millions of vanilla seeds present inside the pods. However, make it to buy Grade A beans for preparing the extract and powder. You can even add these seeds directly added to the cake batter or donuts dough for getting the desired taste.
Do you throw the vanilla beans after scraping out the seeds? If your answer is affirmative, you are not using the beans to their full potential. The reason is not only the inner seeds but even the pods are packed with flavor. So, even if you have used all caviar seeds, you can still use the pods for preparing other dishes. So, here we are highlighting some of the ways to repurpose leftover pods of vanilla beans. Just check them out!
- Vanilla Salt & Sugar: One of the best ways to use leftover vanilla bean pods is simply drying them and burying them inside a container of sugar for a few weeks. This technique will make your odorless sugar flavorful. You can also dry the pods and use the blender to make their fine powder. Do not forget to add little sugar if you are whirring them in a food processor or a blender. Once the flavorful sugar is ready, try to replace the ordinary sugar with flavorful vanilla sugar in recipes to make them healthy and tasty. You can do the same experiment with brown sugar, coconut and palm sugar as well.
Even Vanilla salt is easy to prepare with the same technique. The only difference is you have to whirr vanilla bean pods with salt. Once the flavorful vanilla salt is ready, sprinkle them on chocolate chips or cookies to get a better taste. You can even sprinkle the salt on savory recipes such as shrimp, carrots, sweet potatoes or lobsters. An important tip necessary to follow is if you add used vanilla bean pods in sugar or a salt container, do shake the container once or twice a week to ensure that the flavor gets mixed evenly in the mixture.
- Flavored Tea & Coffee: If you like drinking coffee as the first beverage in the morning, give it a healthy twist by making vanilla-infused coffee. Add used vanilla bean pods to the coffee seeds and grind them and your flavorful coffee is ready. The best thing is vanilla not only adds sweetness to the coffee but makes it aromatic as well. Similarly, you can add used vanilla pods to tea while boiling the water.
- Poached Fruit: Vanilla pods either dried or fresh make a great addition to poach fruit. The leftover vanilla pods work wonderfully with fruits like pears, apples and prunes. To leave the flavor of used pods into the fruits, run the leftover pods through the fruit multiple times and remove it when you get the desired flavor. Besides poached fruits, leftover pods do give a creamy look to dishes like cherry ice cream, lemon syrup and roasted strawberries.
- Vanilla Oil: Make a healthy switch by cooking your meals in vanilla oil instead of using traditional coconut or olive oil. Take a saucepan, place it over a stove and allow it to warm a little bit. Add some vegetable oil as per your preference. Now, take a heat-resistant glass jar and keep used vanilla bean pods in it. Pour the warm oil carefully and slowly, and allow it to cool before placing the lid. Allow the mixture to settle down for a few days, say for a week and your vanilla oil is ready. You can use the oil while preparing marinades and even while preparing brownies.
Did you know you can use both vanilla bean seeds and pods in several dishes together? Yes, you heard it right! The pods and scraped vanilla seeds make a winning combination for preparing dishes like sauces, custards and creams. Usually, it is advisable to add both forms of vanilla to a liquid dish.
Let’s take a quick look at some sweet dishes where vanilla seeds and pods are easy to use together:
- Infused creams and milks such as crème caramels and crème brulee
- Cooking custards or making ice-creams(remove the pods before freezing or churning)
- Hot chocolate
- Dessert Syrups
- Alcohol- for extract
- Pastry cream
Now, let’s uncover some of the savory dishes where both vanilla bean seeds and pods are used together:
- Baked meats and vegetables
A point necessary to disclose is you can use both vanilla seeds and pods only when the beans are plump and moist. Dry vanilla beans with blemishes will not give you the flavor you are looking for. Therefore, always buy moist and bendable beans with a silvery sheen. If you are unable to find such beans in the nearby supermarket, place an online order. Look for a reputed online supplier of different kinds of vanilla beans, check their service delivery areas and place your order today.