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Use or toss this used vanilla bean?

I steeped a vanilla bean (seeds scraped out) in milk for ice cream (will report back on the entire dessert, to be constructed tomorrow night).

Can I used this bean? I rinsed it off with water, being careful to get rid of all the milk clinging to it. It's drying on the counter now. Would it be okay to bury it in sugar to make vanilla sugar, or is it time for this bean to go into the trash?

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  1. I'd probably put it in the sugar. If the flavor is gone, well, nothing lost.

    1. Agree with Kagey, put it in the sugar. If the bean had good intense flavor to start it, it will have some nice residual flavor and aroma. I store all my used beans in the sugar jar.

      1. I recently saw this on a tv show: Once the pod is dry you can grind it into a powder in a spice/coffee grinder then stir it into sugar.

        1. You can also use it in something where you don't want an overly pronounced vanilla flavor. Like... say, in a chocolate ice cream or a fruit ice cream where you want another background layer. The vanilla bean won't be nearly as strong as it was before - particularly because you already used the seeds inside - but it will still have a tinting flavor...

          1. you can also put it into your bottle of vanilla and let it add to the flavor.

            1. Thanks everyone! I was more concerned that having been in milk, it might have absorbed enough to rot. But I'm looking at it now and it looks fine. Worst case scenario I lose two cups of sugar, so I'll give it a go.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pei

                For whatever reason that's not an issue...go figure?
                I always add my used vanilla beans from making ice cream to sugar and have never had a problem.

                1. re: Pei

                  Remember that sugar is a preservative. I don't think the milk would be any problem, especially such a small amount.

                2. If it got "Waterlogged" in the milk, the sugar would be the place to put it. It would keep it from rotting. I made Creme Brule a couple months ago and put the pod in there. I have sugar with a very subtle hint of vanilla.


                  1. another idea for next time: you could add it to your maple syrup.

                    1. I keep a mason jar with a cup or two of bourbon (or brandy or rum) on the shelf and throw all my used vanilla pods in there.

                      Make your own vanilla extract.

                      I always rinse off the beans if it has been used in custard and then throw it in the brew. These are probably not as strong as the others but every bit adds flavour.