Appy Blog

Vanilla Beans to the Rescue!


three vanilla beans with flower isolated on white

From cheesecakes to crème brûlée, ice creams to gelato, puddings and frostings, the wonders of vanilla beans are everywhere!

The aromatic, earthy touch of vanilla can transform any dull dish to an exquisite one! Vanilla beans and extract are commonly used in sweet cookery and other confectionary items. Although, using fresh vanilla beans can drastically enhance the flavor as compared to the ordinary extracts that are used for baking.

Vanilla beans are undoubtedly expensive, the second expensive spice after “saffron”. This is because the vanilla plant has a special growth mechanism and since the cultivation of the plant is so labour intensive, they are priced higher as compared to other spices.

Madagascar is now the leading producer of the plant but they can be found in Mexico and parts of other tropical regions.

Vanilla beans are now available at grocery stores, retailers, online sources, etc. Although a good quality pod will remain potent for as long as 3-4 years approximately.

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Things you should know about Vanilla Beans.

  • A large proportion of the world’s vanilla is used in ice creams, and other dairy products. Regardless of all the ice cream varieties available, vanilla is still the most beloved ice cream flavor.
  • Vanilla is not only used as a flavor in foods and beverages, but also in perfumes.
  • Store vanilla beans in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. In the tropics they are wrapped in waxed or oiled paper and stored in boxes.
  • How to select: Choose plump beans with a thin skin to get the most seeds possible. Pods should be dark brown, almost black in color, and pliable enough to wrap around your finger without breaking.
  • Substitutions: 1 tsp vanilla extract = 1 (1 inch) vanilla bean
  • Tightly wrapped, whole beans can keep for up to a year. If they dry out, you can rehydrate them by soaking briefly in hot water.
  • Never refrigerate vanilla beans or they will harden and crystallize.
  • Vanilla beans contain small amounts of trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. Vanilla bean also has B-complex vitamins that are important in regulating metabolism and the nervous system.
  • The Vanilla bean can also be used to flavor sauces for chicken, seafood, veal and red meat.
  • French vanilla isn’t a true variety of vanilla but rather a way to describe vanilla-flavored custards and ice creams that have eggs in them.
  • Mexican Vanilla is bold and dark with tones of smoke.
  • Madagascar Vanilla is rich and creamy.
  • Beanilla Vanilla is a blend of Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla. The blend offers a beautiful floral aroma and smooth, cherry-chocolate like flavor.
    Beanilla Vanilla is a two-fold vanilla extract; therefore it is twice as concentrated as usual.
  • Bourbon Vanilla – mild, well balanced
  • Madagascar Vanilla – rich and creamy
  • Mexican Vanilla – bold, dark, Smokey
  • Indian Vanilla – full, chocolate
  • Tahitian Vanilla – floral, cherry-chocolate
  • Tonga Vanilla – earthy, fig, raisin

We hope this information was useful! Write to us or leave your comments below to know more about us and our tips n’ tricks!

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Post by Sakshi Deswal

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Picture courtesy: http://www.oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com

Categories: Appy Blog

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