Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.
Wow, very cool. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. I love this Vanilla Bean Loaf Cake from Hi-Rise Bakery in Cambridge: http://www.tinyurbankitchen.... With any spent pods, cover them with sugar to make vanilla sugar. I'm sure others will weigh in with their favorite uses of vanilla. Have fun!
Cold actually has a negative impact on some of the 200+ compounds in vanilla. Also, condensation on cold beans can promote mold (not to be confused with vanillin crystals which can sometimes form on the beans after prolonged exposure to dry air).
The first thing is to store them properly -- an airtight container / containers, preferably glass, without a lot of air space.
I always have a batch of extract processing. It takes a while (6 months) to do it right but the results are well worth it.
What's your favorite dessert?
Thank you for your help! I've been wanting to make extract but I don't have a recipe? Would you mind sharing?
Ruthy is a recipe tester for Food52.
Wow, share the love! :) seriously, just make sure to keep them out of the light and in an airtight container, they should keep for a couple of years at least if stored well. Amanda's suggestion of vanilla sugar is a great one, vanilla sugar is wonderful in cookies especially coming up to Christmas. I love fresh vanilla in cheesecake since the flavor is picked up so well, and i also will leave fresh pods in my coffee grinds prior to brewing for vanilla coffee.
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
Once my Madagascar beans got old (they are now more than 5 years old), we started to grate them into shakes, puddings, and other mild preparations. They continue to be delicious even past their prime.
Once you make your own vanilla extract, I highly recommend adding a teaspoon to this cookie recipe, along with a little lemon and orange zest: http://food52.com/recipes...
Making extract is a simple, straightforward project requiring only four things: A glass bottle, alcohol, beans and some patience.
The bottle should be dark brown to keep out the light. Clear glass will work if you keep it in the cupboard but light, heat and cold will all affect both beans and extract.
Clear, inexpensive, unaged rum is perfect. Vodka will also work but, in my experience, rum tends to be a little less harsh. Small differences, personal preference.
If your beans are plump and oily, sometimes referred to as gourmet or "A" grade, use 1 ounce per 8 ounces of alcohol. If they're on the dry side, sometimes referred to as extract grade, use 7/8 ounce per 8 ounces of alcohol. The difference is in the water content of the beans; any grade will work for the purpose.
Split the beans with a knife (no need to scrape but chopping them up into 1/4" pieces can help when it comes time to decant). You'll have usable extract in 6 weeks but it will be at its best after 6 months.
I agree that vanilla should not be refrigerated. In Madagascar, they wrap it in paper, sort of like waxed paper and keep it in boxes. For longer tem storage, the paper-wrapped bundles go into air-tight containers, but even those are allowed to air out periodically.
Yes, when I brought them back from Madagascar they were wrapped in waxed paper and tied with raffia. I was told to put them in a dark dry place. I've given them to friends whipped them in ice cream and made rum orange... Which I just found out is really vanilla extract! Thank you all so much for the recipes and the information!
Did you use David Lebovitz's vanilla ice cream recipe? It is the best!
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