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Split and Scrape a Vanilla Bean

Sensuously fragrant, and one of the world’s most popular—and expensive flavorings—vanilla beans are the fruit of a fragile, climbing orchid. Native to Mexico and Central America, the Aztecs used them in xocolatl, an early version of our hot chocolate. Europeans discovered the pleasures of vanilla when Cortez, the Spanish conqueror imported it in 1560.

  1. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and then separate it into two sections.  
  2. Hold the pod at one end and then using the edge of a knife, begin scraping the beans into a small bowl.  
  3. Get as many of the tiny beans as possible and then give it one last scrape.  
  4. Save the pod and make a batch of vanilla sugar. Just fill a jar with sugar, place the pod deep into the center, and secure the lid. Let the flavor develop for several weeks then lift the lid and smell its incredible fragrance. Vanilla sugar is wonderful in custards, cookies, and cakes—and as a treat in your tea or coffee.  

Barbara Adams Beyond Wonderful
Cooking Tips and Techniques.