Question: “Could you please tell me how to use a vanilla bean. If a recipe calls for one, how would I do that? Thanks for your help” Sent by Joanna.
Editor: The most common use is to use a small knife to split the vanilla pod lengthwise. Then you can scrape the little seeds with the tip of the blade out of each side. Put the seeds in the other ingredient (milk, custard, vanilla ice cream, sugar…) and give the pods another scraping.
If you’re adding the seeds to a liquid, you can also add the scraped pods to extract more flavor from vanilla. Otherwise, you can bury the pods in your sugar jar to make vanilla sugar (see the recipe here), or simply steep with your next pot of tea or coffee. Whatever you do, don’t throw a vanilla bean away because its flavor is too precious to waste!