How to use and store vanilla
Vanilla is a spice used both in desserts, meals, sauces and in beverages. It is also used in perfumery, in the manufacture of cosmetics and even in pharmacology because its applications are numerous.
If its cost has already hampered your hedonistic explorations, our prices will ensure that only the limits of your imagination are an obstacle to its use.How to recognize the quality of a vanilla:
- Before buying a pod or several vanilla pods, smell it. Whatever its origin, it must give off a pleasant and appetizing perfume. Discard the pods odorless or having an olive kernel odor. They are immature pods.
- Reject the vanilla which has a tangy smell: they have not been refined and will have fermented.
- Reject vanilla with hints of contaminants. Vanilla from new vanilla exporting countries is sometimes coated with shoe wax to color pods in black.
- Discard the vanilla that seems to be coated with a quantity of oil, it may have been coated with vegetable or mineral oil. A well prepared vanilla shows the presence of essential vanilla oil on the surface, but it is a very fragrant oil. In addition, this essential oil becomes resinous on good quality vanilla. Also beware of vanilla from the new exporting countries, they pull essential oil out of the pod with a vacuum packaging process but this process reduces the pod's ability to fight mold and other bacterial damage and does not does not replace ripening.
- Reject pods that show traces of white mold on the surface. You will not miss them when they have large white or yellow and sparkling plaques, but you must be attentive to the white spots which can appear on the foot or on the head hook.
- Reject overly moist vanilla, even if it looks good, it has not been refined for our climate and could quickly mold. In our country, vanilla should not have a humidity level higher than 25% in winter, and 30% in summer.
- Finally, it is better to use a dry vanilla rather than a moldy vanilla. The dry and brittle vanilla forgotten in the back of your wardrobe may still surprise you! Rehydrate it 4 to 6 hours and you will be surprised how happy it can still bring you.
When you have found a well-scented, shiny and clean vanilla, believe that you are blessed because apart from the vanilla selected by Colibri Vanille, it is very rare to find high quality vanilla in Canada!
When we are in the winter period, the vanilla that you bring back from your favorite market can undergo a little condensation because of the temperature changes between the market and your kitchen. If it has a little moisture on the surface, let it dry for 30 minutes in the open air before storing it in a glass jar of a size suitable for your bunch of vanilla. Keep an eye on it for a few days to make sure there is no mold growth.
If you notice a white spot, re-read the affected pod to avoid contaminating others. Rub the white dot and use it quickly. If you do not have time, split it in half and immerse it in your bottle of Rum (which will not complain !!) or put it in your sugar jar. You will stop fungal development and get great vanilla sugar!
Similarly, when your pod has dried in the sugar, grind the pod with the remaining sugar and you are with a great vanilla sugar for pastry.
If none of these methods are close at hand, simply dry the pod to stop fungal development. The quickest method is to light your stove for a few minutes, then turn off and allow the free pod to dry in the rest of the stove heat. Your dry pod can be used without press later; either rehydrated or ground into a powder.
The shelf life of vanilla
Well preserved, vanilla keeps and continues to refine and develop its aromas for years.
A quality maturing period lasts eight months, sometimes even two years, as on the island of Reunion, but it has become very rare that the producing countries refine the vanilla as long, this is why Colibri Vanille continues l ripening on its premises until it is delivered to our points of sale or we send it to you by post in bags containing a little air, so that the vanilla breathes, and in envelopes to bubble to limit sudden temperature changes.
How to use vanilla in natural pods
Although this question seems surprising to Europeans, in America it is more common to use vanilla extract in the kitchen. So some little explanations are needed.
The most fragrant particles in vanilla are found inside the pod. The seed, commonly also known as vanilla caviar, is removed from the pod by splitting the pod in half using a sharp knife blade and scraped to be deposited in the device which will carry the flavor and bind it to food.
The pod itself also carries aromatic molecules that were passed on to it during ripening, so don't throw it away! You can immerse it in your arranged rum or your table sugar, but you can also immerse it in your bottle of vanilla extract which will be improved or else in a jar of neutral alcohol to make your homemade extract (the manufacture of extract on found on another page of this website).
In your homemade preparations, it is heat, sugar or alcohol that diffuses the scent of vanilla. To extract the maximum flavor from the pod, you can also crush it entirely with a food grinder in oil, water, alcohol, milk, sugar syrup or honey, in short everything who crosses your mind; then heat this appliance at least 20 minutes before using it. Soaking your device for 12 hours can also be very successful, if you have time. Then filter for your sauces, pastries, smooties, etc., but you can also fully use this device containing the crushed pod in your cakes, muffins etc. Vanilla is fully edible even if in most recipes only caviar is used.
Moreover, the blue vanilla pods from Reunion Island are so refined and tender that they are eaten in thin strips as a finish on the dishes.