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My Favorite Bean


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At work, my employer often requests salmon as an entrée. The famous TV chef, Rachael Ray, has a recipe for champagne salmon that I really like. It has proven to be a hit on my employer’s table.

This recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean. The only part of the bean used is the small seeds inside. After throwing away the leftover beans for a few weeks, it dawned on me that there had to be a use for them. In Europe, vanilla sugar is quite popular. I took the bean home and placed it in an old quart canning jar with sugar. I put it on my pantry shelf and forgot it.

I found the jar one day when my daughter was baking cookies, so I asked her to use the sugar. As she opened the jar, the kitchen filled with the pleasant aroma of vanilla. The sugar cookies turned out to be some of the best I have ever tasted.

My employer’s fondness for the salmon dish left me with quite a few vanilla beans. I always added the new ones to the jar. I’m “recycling.” I don’t recommend buying more than one bean for this purpose, though, because they can be a bit pricey. One bean will work well and the flavor gets stronger the longer you leave it. Vanilla sugar is available, but I have found it at $21.00 for two cups. A vanilla bean only runs about a third of that price, and will keep working through many batches.

It has been two years now since I made my first batch of vanilla sugar. I like using the sugar in baked goods, but it gives a wonderful taste to puddings and ice cream, too. It adds more flavor to every recipe that requires vanilla and sugar. I even use it in my low sugar peach jam.

Embrace the bean! You’ll be glad you did.

You can also find Patrice at Everyday Ruralty.

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Posted by on July 16, 2010 | Permalink  

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11 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 7-16

    Great post Patrice!

    Free vanilla beans! Yay for you!

    I never thought of slicing the bean..duh! It takes quite a few weeks when you don’t, but it is some great sugar!

    I wonder what else we could flavor?? I do make the vanilla extract.

  2. 7-16

    Can anyone tell me where they buy vanilla beans? I live in a tiny little town and when I ask if anyone sells vanilla beans they look at me like I have two heads! Any suggestions?

    Great post Patrice! Can’t wait to try this when I find some beans!

  3. 7-16

    Wonderful! Those pics have me salivating!!

    KFG, we had a long discussion about buying vanilla beans on line in bulk some time ago over at the forum. Will try to find it later in the day, when I don’t have someone breathing down my neck to go do something else…

  4. 7-16

    Penzy’s Spices has them. Here’s the link for the vanilla bean page:

  5. 7-16

    I buy all of my vanilla beans from

    I’ve never been disappointed in the quality or in the service. They usually arrive promptly. I make my own vanilla extract as well as vanilla sugar.

  6. 7-16

    Thanks, guys, for posting those links! Looking back quickly, I didn’t find that discussion, so these links should help with that issue.

    Mutter, mumble. Don’t you wish we could get the FREE instead? How cool!

  7. 7-17

    Thanks everyone!!

  8. 7-31

    Finally found this post with Suzanne’s help! I got my vanilla beans from a seller on eBay and I have vanilla sugar in my pantry. I’m planning on picking up a bottle of Vodka soon for some extract.

  9. 9-13

    I am soo making this too! I am imagining it in my Spiced Pumpkin Lattes…mmmmm

  10. 9-13

    YES!! I finally ordered vanilla beans, and they should be here in a few days, maybe even today.

    I want to try putting some vanilla bean seeds into SOAP, which leaves the pod to put into SUGAR!!!

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