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Our beans are
traditionally cured over several months to ensure that the full flavor of the vanilla bean is developed. We do not sell quick cured vanilla beans where the beans are cured in 7 to 10 days.
These vanilla beans are triple inspected. The first inspection takes place during packing and is for smell, appearance, and mold. The next inspection takes place during vacuum sealing and is for mold and appearance. The final inspection takes place before shipment to ensure that the vacuum seal is intact and that there is no mold.
Gourmet vanilla beans are primarily used in desserts like creme brulee and vanilla ice cream. They can also be used in exotic main courses like Vanilla Scallops on a Skewer or Turbot with Vanilla, Asparagus Tips, and Chicken Cocoa Grue Sauce.
Some facts about vanilla beans:
- Bourbon refers to the formerly named Bourbon Islands (now Reunion) off of Madagascar. Bourbon alcohol is not used in vanilla beans.
- Vanilla beans are the second most labor intensive spice after saffron.
- They originated in Mexico.
- Vanilla beans must be hand pollinated outside of Mexico because the pollinator, the Melipona bee, cannot survive outside of Mexico.
- When the vanilla orchid blooms, it must be pollinated within 24 hours or else the boom dies and no vanilla pod is produced for that bloom.
- Vanilla is an orchid, and the beans are the fruit of the orchid.
- It is the only orchid fruit that we eat.
- There are over 200 organic compounds in vanilla. Artificial vanilla (vanillin) cannot capture the complexity of natural vanilla.
- The United States consumes roughly half of all vanilla beans produced in the world.
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Cured vanilla beans.
***Storage*** Triple wrap in zip lock freezer bags immediately upon receipt. Do not freeze or refrigerate them. Store in a cool, dark place. ***Homemade Vanilla Extract*** 1) Use 1/4 pound of beans for every quart of extract that you want to make. 2) Chop the beans into 1/2 inch pieces. Slicing is OK, but it is a waste of time and can be very difficult, if not dangerous, with dry extract grade beans. 3) Use inexpensive name brand Vodka 70 to 90 proof (35 to 45% alcohol). 4) Shake daily for one month. Voila! Homemade Vanilla Extract! When making vanilla extract, you should go by weight, not number of beans, as there can be anywhere from 70 to 250 beans per pound, depending upon the length and quality. You can try making extract from Madagascar or Tahitian vanilla beans, and you can use extract grade or prime gourmet grade beans. You may want to filter your finished product. There is no harm in leaving the beans in. By law, commercial producers of vanilla extract must use roughly a pound of beans for every gallon of extract they produce (one ounce of beans for eight ounces of extract). Most commercial vanilla extract comes sweetened to help cut the alcohol smell, but it is not needed. You can do the same by adding some corn syrup or sugar water - about 5% by volume. How do you know when the extract is done? Smell is one way, and another way is by the color - it should be a nice deep amber color. You can't compare the color to what you buy at the store because vanilla extract manufacturers often add coloring agents. Just like tea bags and coffee grinds, vanilla beans only have so much flavor in them. After you are done making extract there really isn't much flavor left in them.
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