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Vanilla Beans


torakris
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My friend and I split a Penzey's order of spices and I now have 8 vanilla beans.

Because the beans we find in Japan are very expensive and very bad quality, I sort of want to hang on to these as long as possible.

What is the shelf life of vanilla beans and what is the best way to store them?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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To get the most out of them, after you have used the pod for flavoring something, like custard, rinse them off dry and whiz up in the food processor with sugar for instant vanilla sugar (sift out any remaining large bits). Or, just store the used beans in sugar for vanilla sugar that takes longer for the flavor to develop and doesn't have any specks.

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To get the most out of them, after you have used the pod for flavoring something, like custard, rinse them off dry and whiz up in the food processor with sugar for instant vanilla sugar (sift out any remaining large bits). Or, just store the used beans in sugar for vanilla sugar that takes longer for the flavor to develop and doesn't have any specks.

I have seen cookbooks telling you to store vanilla beans in sugar to make vanilla sugar.

What do you use vanilla sugar for?

And Rachel, how long could you store your vanilla sugar for?

And does anyone know if you can use the vanilla bean that is in the bottle of Penzey's vanilla extract? If I can get it out that is.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I must say that I am almost embarassed by my riches of vanilla beans. I just brought home another 3 whole pods today - to add to the dozen or so I have already - and that's not even counting the scraped out beans. I scavenge them at school - where most people can't be bothered to put away the ones they haven't used - much less reuse the pods they've scraped out. Savages.

I learned this very good technique from one the chefs the other day. When you split a bean in half, you typically scrape out the seeds with the back of your knife. To get out even more, place the split bean in sugar and use the sugar like a sanding agent and rub it in and get even more of the seeds out.

You can then either place these pods into sugar to flavour the sugar - which again should keep indefinitely in a cool dark place and used as you would regular sugar. You can then later take the pods and dry them in a low oven and blend/food process them and use as dried vanilla.

And I don't know specifically about the Penzey's vanilla but I can't see why you couldn't use that bean as above as well.

Enjoy your beans. They are one of my favourite things in the world.

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I have stored vanilla beans in booze as someone else said with some success. They are scarce around these parts, and sadly I don't often have them left-over. When I do I slit a few of them in two and then put them in a jar with a few big cupfuls of sugar, which I (maybe) let the construction guys use in their coffee at work. Also, I have used vanilla beans in sweet souffles. Warm a whole bean for 20 minutes, covered, with the milk you are using for your souffle.

I scavenge them at school - where most people can't be bothered to put away the ones they haven't used - much less reuse the pods they've scraped out. Savages.

Thanks loufood! I can't wait to start doing that kind of thing at school. What other wealth have you found laying about? This is how I intend to feed myself for the next couple years, so share, share! :laugh:

Edited by NeroW (log)

Noise is music. All else is food.

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I have seen cookbooks telling you to store vanilla beans in sugar to make vanilla sugar.

What do you use vanilla sugar for?

And Rachel, how long could you store your vanilla sugar for?

Anxious for someone to answer these questions. Anyone?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I buy them in 50 units batches.

a. I keep them in an air tight bag (Zipped) in my Deep-freeze - then let them come back to "life" and they shines again.

b. Vanilla sugar is used as vanilla flavored sugar powder (Pâte brisée/sucrée/sablée etc.)

c. You may use it in an alcohol to make your own vanilla jus.

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Also very nice:

d. I'm using Vanilla flavored olive-oil - simply put some (used vanilla pods + maybe fresh one) in a bottle of your not too powerful olive oil and that's great for salad-dressing

Q.E.D.

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I scavenge them at school - where most people can't be bothered to put away the ones they haven't used - much less reuse the pods they've scraped out. Savages.

Thanks loufood! I can't wait to start doing that kind of thing at school. What other wealth have you found laying about? This is how I intend to feed myself for the next couple years, so share, share! :laugh:

From pastry alone, I have not only the coveted vanilla beans but of course a staggering supply of leftover doughs in my freezer - standard short, puff, almond, etc. - occasionally ganache, almond cream, mousses, etc. I tend not to take my classmates extras because I quite frankly I don't trust it but if I took theirs as well I could run my own patisserie on the side. We just made the fillings for assorted chocolates yesterday - dipping tomorrow - and I had cups of leftover almond paste/pistachio paste, praline, muscadine. From a demo today I brought home four cups of an incredibly deep, dark rich caramel creme sauce. Had that tonight with ice cream and praline bits.

And cuisine leftovers will need their own thread! :shock:

Where are you going to school?

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Cordon Bleu. They say we are not allowed to remove food from the premises. Are you? If so, how do you sneak it out? Do you hide it beneath your hat? I am trying to figure out how I'm going to do this without getting caught. :laugh:

Noise is music. All else is food.

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I'm at CB Paris.

Ooooh, the real one! I am going to one of the satellites: Chicago. I was wondering if you were at the Paris school . . .

Noise is music. All else is food.

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I'm at CB Paris.

Ooooh, the real one! I am going to one of the satellites: Chicago. I was wondering if you were at the Paris school . . .

:laugh:

Yes, as real as a heart attack.

Where in Chicago - that's where I grew up. And I've heard that culinary schools in the US don't allow students to bring home food. Crazy Americans. What happens to your food? And vanilla beans? :wink:

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It's on W. Chestnut, downtown. Do you know where the Tribune bldg. is? It's only a few blocks from there. We can eat all the food we want while we're in the bldg, but none outside. :angry: They give all the leftovers to a shelter down the street, though, which is good. How long is the program in Paris? Well, I guess this has not much to do with vanilla beans anymore.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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  • 1 year later...

So I made twice baked brioche to improve myself through baking, and I bought three vanilla beans at $1.25 each. After tasting the syrup I am totally hooked on vanilla beans for a LOT of uses where I previously used extract. Everybody says to save and dry the beans but the only use I've heard of for the used beans is to flavor sugar. I already have two pods in my sugar canister, so what else can I do with these?

And how long should I leave old beans in the canister? Is there a shelf life on these?

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split them, scrape out the tiny little grains with the point of a knife and beat into mascarpone with a combination of some of the below:

- rum/brandy/Cointreau

- sugar

- grated lemon/orange rind

- chopped fresh mint/basil

- strong black coffee or bitter chocolate

then use to fill a pastry case and top with sliced fruit for instant dessert.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

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I just picked up 12 vanilla beans from the Baker's catalogue, and will be trying to make my own extract. Any suggestions/pointers I should heed?

I'm planning to put it in a glass bottle with about 18 ounces of vodka, and let it steep for a month.

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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I just picked up 12 vanilla beans from the Baker's catalogue, and will be trying to make my own extract. Any suggestions/pointers I should heed?

I'm planning to put it in a glass bottle with about 18 ounces of vodka, and let it steep for a month.

check out this thread for a few tips. Making Vanilla Extract Thread

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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An interesting idea is a recipe for pineapple-vanilla infused tequila or rum credited to Mark Miller (Coyote Cafe) and adapted by W. Park Kerr in "Burning Desires". It's delicious.

You chop up fresh pineapple and add to tequila or rum with light brown sugar or piloncillo (mexican raw sugar) and vanilla bean. Shake and let sit for at least 2 weeks.

Rough proportions are 1 large pineapple, 1 liter bottle of tequila or rum, 2.5 oz pioncillo or 1/3 cup light brown sugar and 1 vanilla bean.

This recipe uses fresh beans, maybe one could compensate by using more beans and/or for a longer time.

The sieved liqueur makes excellent margaritas and you can use the pineapple as a topping melted with butter and additional brown sugar.

Yumm! :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

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The wife of one of my cooking-school instructors used to cadge his old, dried beans (post vanilla-sugar stage) and pulverise them in her food processor. She'd sprinkle them into her linen closet after the periodic cleanings, then put her sheets back. Of course, if you're a pastrychef, that's the last thing you'd want on your sheets!

The pods will retain potency for a while, and can be re-used to some extent. Try adding a previously-used pod to your pot of milk, when you make cocoa or hot chocolate. The flavour will still come through, though to a lesser degree. I've also spoken to people who use the older pods to "stretch" their use of new (expensive) pods; ie if recipe calls for three beans, use two new and two old.

Also, the used beans can be used to provide a *hint* of vanilla flavour in a savoury dish...though that would be the last use for a specific bean, I should think.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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