HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Vanilla Beans

j
jpc8015 Aug 24, 2011 08:41 AM

I just bought a pound of Ugandan vanilla beans (90-100 beans). Besides all the typical applications; ice cream, vanilla sugar, custards, etc...what do you suggest?

  1. sunshine842 Aug 24, 2011 09:05 AM

    make your own vanilla extract. WAY better than anything you'll buy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842
      j
      jpc8015 Aug 24, 2011 09:19 AM

      I got a quart of extract too!

    2. r
      rainey Aug 24, 2011 09:12 AM

      Did you know that putting a bit of vanilla in a can of paint is supposed to nullify the wet paint smell?

      Try the trick that appeared recently on CH: cut the tips off vanilla beans, stick the cut ends in enough vodka or rum to keep them submerged. When you want beans for baking, just grasp it at the uncut end and squeeze, toothpaste style, down the bean. The beans will fall into your batter.

      I haven't tried it yet but if you want more info I'm sure you can google the video that's here somewhere.

      11 Replies
      1. re: rainey
        n
        NotJuliaChild Aug 24, 2011 02:22 PM

        You're thinking of this video:

        http://www.chow.com/videos#!/show/all...

        1. re: NotJuliaChild
          h
          HillJ Aug 24, 2011 02:57 PM

          Too funny NJC, I posted the same CHOW video earlier below.

          1. re: HillJ
            n
            NotJuliaChild Aug 24, 2011 03:02 PM

            Yes, I saw that after I posted the link.

            Let me make a different contribution. Here's the Chow video on how to make your own Vanilla Extract:

            http://www.chow.com/food-news/54349/h...

          2. re: NotJuliaChild
            x
            xiaobao12 May 17, 2012 07:33 AM

            Hey all,

            Using this wonderful method, how do you all preserve the paste after it's been extracted from the pod??? Does it last indefinitely in an airtight container?

            Thanks a lot.

            1. re: xiaobao12
              h
              HillJ May 17, 2012 07:43 AM

              By placing vanilla pods with both ends trimmed standing in 2 inches of dark rum, I am letting the rum draw up inside the pod and create a thick bean goo which remains contained inside the pod until I squeeze it out for use.

              I don't squeeze the vanilla bean "goo" until I'm ready to use it in a recipe or mixed into sugar, or dispensed into a liquid.

              Those pods keep fresh and intact standing in the rum, jarred for use as needed forever.

              1. re: HillJ
                x
                xiaobao12 May 17, 2012 07:47 AM

                ahhhh......gotcha...I was so hoping you would respond HillJ. Thanks a lot!

                I have a few beens that ordered more than 6 months ago in a tight ziploc that I want to use with this method because I am worried about them drying out since they are so precious.

                1. re: xiaobao12
                  h
                  HillJ May 17, 2012 07:56 AM

                  And you'll be very happy you did, xia! it will take a few months for the rum, vodka, gin to draw up through the cut end (I cut both ends of each pod) but it will last a good while, intensify the pod & flavor and make using that precious goo so much easier to access. And, the liquid method will def. keep the entire pod moist.

                  What liquid are u going to use in the jar? I use a double wide large mason jar and keep it in my pantry.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    x
                    xiaobao12 May 17, 2012 08:17 AM

                    I will be using captain morgan spiced rum - bad idea? It's all I have. I have a large strawberry jam jar from costco that I will use for this.

                    I also have some extract going - I just cut the pods into 1/3's (no splitting) and threw them in with some vodka in a bottle with a cork. That has been seeping for 3.5 months. Btw, do you every strain your extract and rebottle or do you just keep the vanilla remains in the same bottle and replenish with more alcohol and beans and just use that?

                    1. re: xiaobao12
                      h
                      HillJ May 17, 2012 08:27 AM

                      If you like the spiced rum I see no issue. As long as you know that the spice will affect flavor and impact the bit of spice in everything you use the beans for. I like spiced rum as well. Right now my jarred beans are sitting in gin. Dark rum is my personal fav.

                      Yes, I have strained, bottled and replenished beans over time. The extract this method creates is phenom. I always replenish with the same liquid. If I want a new liquid I use fresh, new beans and begin the process again.

                    2. re: HillJ
                      x
                      xiaobao12 Jan 4, 2013 08:22 PM

                      Hi HillJ and all,

                      Happy New Year =)

                      It has been 7 months and I want to report back. I have several concoctions - 2 are the tiny liquor bottles that I filled up with vodka and infused with a few sticks of vanilla to make vanilla extract - they make pretty gifts.

                      I also have a bottle of my own vanilla extract made with vodka. I tasted it for the first time 3 months ago and it was delicious (but the expensive stuff from Whole Foods tastes like that too though....).

                      I also have the magical vanilla goo in a large jar with the spiced rum. I have been so squirrel like about this stuff that I haven't even used it.....I do bake a lot but haven't used it!!

                      Any immediate ideas?

                      I want to add vanilla flavor to my coffee beans.....maybe I can use up some of that goo....and then dry out the pod, and insert into my beans?

                      1. re: xiaobao12
                        h
                        HillJ Jan 4, 2013 09:18 PM

                        How exciting and thanks so much for reporting back to this thread.

                        Nothing beats homemade extract.

                        Now that you've nailed the process, use the goo! It's so inexpensive and easy to create. Just this morning I added vanilla bean "goo" to my Greek yogurt, my batch of morning muffins and in tonight's batch of rice pudding. Once I've exhausted an entire bod I leave it on a plate to air dry and then I pulse the entire pod into a puree using my electric grinder. Then I use the pod dust in my coffee grounds. No waste and it's all delicious!

                        Have you flavored any sugar yet?
                        Vanilla simple syrup
                        Vanilla iced tea
                        Vanilla ice cream?

          3. c
            ChiliDude Aug 24, 2011 09:32 AM

            Vanilla beans are the 2nd most expensive spice after saffron. If I may be so bold to ask, please give me an estimate of the cost of 90-100 beans. If you chose answer you can say 'less than', more than' or 'about.' I am not in the habit of asking such a question, but I'm astounded at the number of beans purchased.

            My wife and I are accustomed to using pine nuts in Italian dishes. Due to the cost of pine nuts now, we don't use them anymore. Thirty or more dollars for a pound of pine nuts is looney tunes.

            17 Replies
            1. re: ChiliDude
              j
              jpc8015 Aug 24, 2011 09:38 AM

              If you buy vanilla beans one or two at a time they can be very expensive; six or eight dollars each. I went to Arizona Vanilla Company online and got a pound for about $60. They have other varieties that cost a bit more and some that cost a bit less. There are other websites out there. Just google vanilla beans and you will find a few different online retailers.

              I think $0.60 per bean is a pretty good deal.

              1. re: jpc8015
                c
                ChiliDude Aug 25, 2011 03:30 AM

                Interesting!

              2. re: ChiliDude
                BananaBirkLarsen Aug 24, 2011 11:08 AM

                I just bought a dozen beans off of eBay for less than $5 after shipping. These are Tahitian beans, which have a more delicate, floral taste (or so I've read -- mine were supposed to arrive yesterday) but for that price, I'd buy vanilla beans that someone had kept in their shoe.

                1. re: ChiliDude
                  sunshine842 Aug 24, 2011 11:20 AM

                  I used to buy my beans from Penzey's -- good quality/price ratio, and I was usually ordering something else, so the freight wasn't such a pinch on the cost of the vanilla.

                  1. re: ChiliDude
                    h
                    HillJ Aug 24, 2011 01:00 PM

                    http://www.theposter.com/vanilla2.html

                    ChiliDude, I buy from this seller 4x's a year. Fantastic customer service.

                    I also buy her saffron and dried mushrooms.

                    http://www.chow.com/videos#!/show/all/69537/how-to-get-the-seeds-out-of-a-vanilla-pod

                    this is the CHOW video detailing how to submerge your vanilla beans into 2 inches of alcohol for not only the easiest extraction but for the best concentration of vanilla extract you can make at home. This method has transformed the life of the beans I buy and (bonus) has made for a great gift idea.

                    To the OP, this thread back in July was also super helpful and the ideas really helped me. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783618

                    After I have used up the pod I let them dry and grind them in my whirl-gig coffee grinder. The dried vanilla bean pod goes in my coffee grounds, simple syrup, baked breads, bathtub, you name it. I use every inch of those precious pods.

                    As for pine nuts...those high prices are a killer. What would you sub for a pine nut?

                    1. re: HillJ
                      x
                      xiaobao12 Nov 29, 2011 09:28 PM

                      HillJ,

                      Am I crazy or is it pretty cheap to get a pound of the Planifolia beans for 19.95 at www.theposter.com?!? I want to start making yummy desserts and it will be my first time buying vanilla. Is there a major difference between the Planifolia or Tahitian beans? (Mexican beans are too expensive for me right now

                      Thanks.

                      1. re: xiaobao12
                        h
                        HillJ Nov 30, 2011 03:55 AM

                        xia, the lowest price around and frankly I don't know why anyone who enjoys true vanilla beans would buy them anywhere else. I see no major diff btwn any of their bean offerings except a slight jump in price (including organics). I have enjoyed hundreds of uses for hundreds of beans at cents on the dollar at this point. Go for it, xia!

                        1. re: HillJ
                          x
                          xiaobao12 Nov 30, 2011 08:21 AM

                          Thanks HillJ. After posting, I read more about the 2 places that you and morwen get your beans from (it was a very interesting discussion) - the two places being ebay (vanilla products) and www.saffron.com. I ordered from Ebay last night - just 10 sticks. Next time, I will order from www.safffron.com (theposter.com). Thanks so much for your advice!

                          1. re: xiaobao12
                            h
                            HillJ Nov 30, 2011 08:30 AM

                            My pleasure xia. The ebay seller is also fine, I just dislike overpaying for the same quality or better when I can save $. Enjoy those beans!

                      2. re: HillJ
                        iL Divo Mar 7, 2012 10:40 AM

                        so appreciate your link info HillJ.

                        xia, so the $19.95 lb is for chef quality.
                        I had to read down further.
                        that is a great deal.
                        I stand corrected on thinking you had to sell the farm to afford vanilla beans.
                        tnx all

                        1. re: iL Divo
                          h
                          HillJ Mar 7, 2012 04:37 PM

                          iLD, Emme on the other thread mentions an ebay seller out of PA offering 12 pods for under $3.00 plus s&h. Might be worth a try for a small order.

                          1. re: HillJ
                            iL Divo Mar 9, 2012 07:04 AM

                            oh no sweet HillJ......
                            I want a plethora of beans! like a hundred! ;:-)
                            seriously, I'd split&scrape a lot more (when recipes call for) then I do now, if only I didn't have to conserve.
                            I currently own 2 in a lovely 'still sealed' jar.
                            I use a lot of vanilla and have 6 different kinds of very good extract/essence. < that's where I splurge.
                            now with your info I can splurge w-out splurging if that makes sense. ;:-/

                            1. re: iL Divo
                              h
                              HillJ Mar 9, 2012 07:25 AM

                              iLD, def. with you there. Buying with the CA company means we can use vanilla bean to our hearts content w/out squirreling away every precious seed. Have at it, I agree!

                        2. re: HillJ
                          nofunlatte May 21, 2012 05:58 PM

                          I just placed an order for vanilla beans, based on the strength of your recommendation. Will let you know what I think when I get them!

                          1. re: nofunlatte
                            h
                            HillJ May 21, 2012 06:48 PM

                            good for you, nfl! I just placed a new order myself on Saturday.

                            1. re: HillJ
                              nofunlatte May 25, 2012 03:58 PM

                              Looks like my reply went AWOL. HillJ, thanks for the tip-- the beans arrived very quickly and in great shape. I scraped two beans and put the seeds, along with their pods, in a bottle with a little leftover Captain Morgans rum. Finally using that rum that has been in my cupboard for a few years! Very impressed with the service.

                              1. re: nofunlatte
                                h
                                HillJ May 25, 2012 08:07 PM

                                Good for you and I am very happy for you that your order went well. Enjoy those beans!

                      3. kattyeyes Aug 24, 2011 09:47 AM

                        Split and scrape a bean and let it infuse your maple syrup. Depending on how big your container is, half a bean may suffice. You might make your own vanilla vodka, too! CLINQUE!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: kattyeyes
                          s
                          sophia519 Sep 6, 2011 04:36 PM

                          My partner sliced 1/2 of a vanilla bean into 3 thin strips, put it in a bottle of rum and let it steep for a few days. It made an awesome rum and coke, took the bottle camping and it was gone by the end of the weekend!

                          1. re: sophia519
                            kattyeyes Sep 6, 2011 05:17 PM

                            Ooh, NICE! Cheers to that!

                        2. chefathome Aug 24, 2011 11:18 AM

                          I use vanilla beans to make extracts, panna cotta, creme brulee, ice cream, pavlova, shortbread, apple crisp, brownies (caramel and chocolate), semifreddo, etc. One of my favourite applications is to use them in vanilla bean vinaigrettes.

                          1. a
                            alitria Aug 24, 2011 03:17 PM

                            I'd be tempted to toss one in a bag of coffee beans. I do sometimes put a drop or two of vanilla in my french press with the ground beans. I'm also a big fan of vanilla whipped cream.

                            1. m
                              MMari Aug 24, 2011 06:48 PM

                              The cookbook "Sarabeth's Bakery" recommended Beanilla at www.beanilla.com. I tried a smaller order of the beans and was very pleased. Quick shipping and good quality.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MMari
                                h
                                HillJ Aug 24, 2011 07:06 PM

                                http://www.beanilla.com/tahitian-vani...

                                While I love Sarabeth's products, restaurants and her CHOW video for vanilla bean extraction she lost me at this recommendation, price-wise. My supplier would charge me 100.00 max for 500 individual vanilla beans. I just can't see overpaying.

                              2. j
                                jpc8015 Sep 1, 2011 06:50 AM

                                I think that my wife will be tucking a vanilla bean into jars of pears when she does her canning. Vanilla scented pears all winter sounds pretty good.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jpc8015
                                  h
                                  HillJ Sep 1, 2011 06:58 AM

                                  Sure does, jpc8015. Equally delicious infused with roasted pears.

                                  1. re: jpc8015
                                    geminigirl Sep 1, 2011 10:50 AM

                                    lol, are you my husband? Pears and vanilla are also on my weekend to do list:) as well as put some in the dehydrator and see how they turn out.

                                  Show Hidden Posts