Kitchen Guide

Vanilla

General Description

Vanilla Beans are the long, greenish-yellow seed pods of the tropical orchid plant, Vanilla planifolia. Before the plant flowers, the pods are picked, unripe, and cured until they're dark brown. The process takes up to six months. To obtain Pure Vanilla Extract, cured Vanilla Beans are steeped in alcohol. According to law, Pure Vanilla Extract must be 35 percent alcohol by volume.

Taste and Aroma Description

Vanilla Beans have a sweet, perfumed aroma with a woody or smoky flavor. Pure Vanilla Extract has a similar aroma.

A Few Ideas to Get You Started

One inch of Vanilla Bean is equal to one teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract. Vanilla Beans should never be refrigerated because they may develop mold when chilled. They should be kept in an air-tight container at room temperature. Add to desserts or beverages to boost sweet, fruity, or rich flavors. Provides smooth rich background taste - use to balance sauces for shellfish, chicken, and veal. Softens dairy flavors and reduces egginess in French toast and meringues. Add to a mug of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea for added richness.

 

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