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Friday, September 21, 2012

friday favourites - vanilla pods

Today I thought I would share about one of my favourite flavourings and how I buy it cheaply and use it.

These are of course vanilla pods.
 I buy them from here:
I get 38 pods for $19.00, you can buy various quantities and obviously the more you buy the cheaper it is.
This is much cheaper than what you can buy in the supermarket.
Last time I looked I think they were around a dollar each maybe more?

 I use my vanilla pods in several ways.

Firstly if I am making a custard of any sort I simply slice the pod down the middle keeping one end still attached and put it in with the milk. 
I do this whenever we make ice cream or when I make custard for our baked oatmeal.
When I pull it out I simply rinse it off and put it in my oven at about 100C for 20 minutes or so until it has dried out.
The smell through the house is divine.
When it is dried I put it up in my pantry and when I have 3 or 4 I simply put them through my spice grinder.
 I picked up a cheap $20 coffee/spice grinder last year and found it is wonderful for these sorts of jobs.
 I made a chai tea mix last year for Christmas presents with it.
 (if you do decide to make this chai tea you may want to use a lot less peppercorns unless you like a peppery chai tea)

Then I add the ground vanilla to a little jar called vanilla powder.
I use this to sprinkle in yoghurt or whipped cream or instead of vanilla essence in recipes.

If you don't want to do this some people simply add it to their sugar jar to make vanilla sugar.

Two other ways you can make your own vanilla products are to simply stick a few pods in a jar with some vodka or bourbon or other alcohol and leave for a couple of months in the pantry to infuse.

This has been in the jar for about one month so it is not quite ready yet.
Just give it a shake every now and again.
Once it is ready you can just keep topping it up with alcohol every time you use it.
I ran out of vodka but I kept using it so needed to start this again,
I just reused the same pods and poured some fresh vodka over the top.
The final thing I do with vanilla pods is to make my own version of vanilla bean paste.
I take a few pods and split them in half and then I put them on the stove with some water (about a cup) in a saucepan and boil them up until the water reduces to about a 1/4, then I add a teaspoon of rice malt syrup, (you could use maple syrup or honey) and then put it into a jar, I keep the pods in there for added flavour.

If you like vanilla and want to make your own natural products cheaply and without additives I can thoroughly recommend it as really easy and not at all time consuming and the flavour is so much nicer than any bought product.

What is your favourite way to use vanilla?


  1. thanks for the ideas deanne! i love vanilla - probably my favourite scent. i haven't tried making vanilla chai but i like to drink it.

  2. I love 'real' vanilla but it is expensive. Thanks for the shopping tip. My mother-in-law keeps her empty vanilla pods in a jar of sugar.
    Have a great weekend K x

  3. Lots of great info there Deanne. We use natural vanilla extract in cooking but haven't ventured beyond this. Sourcing cheaper vanilla beans from the site you shared may change that.

  4. Oh vanilla, what a luxurious flavour. Thanks for the tips....might have to try your vodka suggestion! Have a lovely weekend. Rx

  5. Oh my goodness that is cheap, thank you so much for sharing!! I so wish you lived next door, I would totally invite myself over for vanilla and vodka on the rocks tonight! xx

  6. Wow that is cheap for vanilla pods Deanne! I love, love the smell and flavour of vanilla and always add a little bit more that I'm supposed to in recipes :)
    Cas x

  7. I love vanilla...Thank you for sharing your vanilla secrets! I may have to try my own infusions now.

  8. I have never used vanilla pods due to the expense. You have some fab ideas here. Thanks so much for the link.


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