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For centuries, vanilla beans have been one of the most familiar flavours fundamental to western cuisine. They are commonly used to flavour desserts, beverages, milk products and coffee. Vanilla is one of the most loved flavours of the western palate.
A wonderful ingredient for any pantry, vanilla is the fruit of a climbing orchid from Central America.
Within the pods there are numerous amounts of tiny sticky seeds which can be scraped out and put into custards, cakes, tarts, or used in poaching fruit.
The whole pod, cut down the middle, can be added to liquid preparations such as custards and syrups while cooking to impart more flavour, and once used it can be dried out and placed in your sugar pot to infuse vanilla flavour into your sugar.