What to do with leftover vanilla bean?
April 9, 2011 3:54 PM   Subscribe

What can I do with leftover vanilla pods OTHER than vanilla sugar or extract? I have both of those already.
posted by Caravantea to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I love vanilla sweet potatoes with duck and other gamey meats.

You could also infuse vodka or rum with vanilla.
posted by TheBones at 3:58 PM on April 9, 2011

I made vanilla salt with mine and used it for bath scrubs. You can soak them in oil and do some of the same sorts of things.
posted by jessamyn at 4:13 PM on April 9, 2011

Marmalade! Meyer lemon and vanilla marmalade is amaaaaaazing. (Regular old lemon and vanilla marmalade is also delicious, if Meyer lemons are unavailable.)
posted by bewilderbeast at 4:16 PM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I snip a few pieces of vanilla pod into my coffee plunger (french press) or stove-top expresso machine for a yummy vanilla coffee.
posted by Kerasia at 4:31 PM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Ice cream.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:33 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding the vanilla vodka. I'm not a huge flavored vodka person, but vanilla vodka is pretty great.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 4:40 PM on April 9, 2011

I scrape the seeds into smoothies/shakes. My favorite: buttermilk with mango and vanilla, yum!
posted by The Toad at 4:41 PM on April 9, 2011

I made rice pudding with a few of mine.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 5:00 PM on April 9, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas everyone! But I want to make it clear that the seeds have already been used. So anything involving the inside of the bean is a no go.

I love the coffee and vodka ideas!
posted by Caravantea at 5:08 PM on April 9, 2011

I like to chew them. A tiny piece lasts a long time.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:09 PM on April 9, 2011

You could make vanilla powder... which would probably be really good mixed into toast dope.
posted by Lexica at 6:16 PM on April 9, 2011

I put a vanilla pod into a newly opened package of loose leaf black tea a few months back. The first 10 or so cups of tea I made were lightly vanilla flavoured. Now that I'm getting to the bottom, the tea is strongly vanilla with the slight spiciness of black tea. Very yummy. Also my tea cupboard smells wonderful.
posted by lollusc at 6:23 PM on April 9, 2011

An above mefite suggested vanilla salt, which is amazing -- but skip the bath salts, and use it for cooking! Add a judicious pinch to cream-based savory foods to really punch up the smoothness of the dairy flavor, sprinkle a smidge on sweet vegetables like fresh-sliced tomato or avocado, and it's outrageously good paired with sweet seafood like shrimp and scallop.

And dessert! Oh my god, vanilla salt sprinkled on top of a brownie, on an ice cream sundae, as the salt in salted caramel! Insane. Beyond.
posted by hels at 6:09 PM on April 10, 2011

Since you don't have the seeds, you can't just "add it", but there's a lot of flavor in the empty pod. The best way to release that flavor is by soaking or simmering. Thus, any time you have something that could sit for along time and absorb the flavors (tea leaves, coffee beams, rum, vodka, sugar, salt), a hot liquid that would taste good with some vanilla (in tea, cocoa, or coffee as you make it), or a thing that gets simmered for a while (jams, jellies, puddings/custards, custard for making ice cream, fruit soups, applesauce, crockpot pork, infused cream used in ganache or mousse).

I also had heard that in areas where vanilla orchids are grown and there are beans at hand, pods get tucked in linen closets, clothes storage, and wherever around the house.
posted by aimedwander at 7:09 AM on April 11, 2011

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