Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans come from the island of Madagascar, one of the Bourbon Islands off the southeastern coast of Africa. The seeds of a climbing orchid, vanilla beans are hand-harvested and sun cured. The dark brown wrinkled pods are wonderfully fragrant and add a rich, sweet, buttery smooth creamy vanilla flavor. Vanilla beans are ready to use whole for infusing or split lengthwise and use the scraped seeds for more intense flavor and the classic vanilla bean fleck.
Vanilla beans are a great flavoring for ice cream, cakes, cookies, chocolate, coffee, fruit desserts and most sweet dishes. A small amount of natural vanilla also complements rich savory dishes such as lobster and veal. Use vanilla as a secret ingredient in tomato sauces, stews and chili. One whole vanilla bean is equivalent to approximately one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste or vanilla powder.
Our vanilla beans come in a great storage jar, return the unused portion of the vanilla bean to the jar and cover with sugar. In 2-3 weeks, you will have the added bonus of vanilla sugar to use in your coffee, hot chocolate, sprinkled over your oatmeal or sugar cookies.
Recipe: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 quart (4 cups) Heavy Whipping Cream
1 quart (4 cups) Half and Half
1 1/2 cups sugar
a few grains Trade Winds Spice Company Sea Salt
Seeds from 2 Trade Winds Spice Company Bourbon Vanilla Beans, reserving the pods
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract (optional)
Combine the heavy cream and the half and half in a medium saucepan. Slit the vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out the pulp. Add the vanilla bean pulp to the cream in the saucepan and mix well. For extra flavor also add the empty vanilla bean pod husks to the cream in the saucepan. Scald the mixture by heating it slowly in the saucepan until just below the boiling point. When small bubbles begin to appear around the edges of the saucepan, stir it for a minute or two, watching closely to avoid boiling. Remove saucepan from the heat. (Scalded cream will have a thin coating on it as it cools, but this disappears during cranking.)
Remove the empty vanilla bean pod husks*. Add the sugar and salt to the warm cream mixture and stir well.
Chill the sweetened cream mixture in the refrigerator. If you want an even more intense vanilla flavor add the vanilla extract to the chilled cream mixture before processing in the ice cream maker.
Freeze the cream mixture in an ice cream making machine according to the manufacturer's directions. When complete, scoop the ice cream into an ice cream storage container and freeze until ready to serve.
*Discard the vanilla bean pod husks or rinse, pat dry and place in a jar with granulated sugar and make your own vanilla bean sugar to sweeten your tea or coffee.
Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract
1 ounce Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans (about 8-10 vanilla beans)
1 8 ounce clean sterilized glass jar or bottle with lid
1 cup (8 ounces) alcohol, at least 35% alcohol (70 proof). Vodka is commonly used, people also like rum, bourbon or brandy
Note: FDA standards call for at least 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid which is approximately .9 ounces of vanilla beans per 8 ounces of alcohol.
1) Slit the vanilla beans lengthwise then cut into smaller pieces. Place them into the jar.
2) Pour 8 ounces of your favorite vodka, rum, bourbon or brandy into the jar making sure to completely submerge the vanilla beans.
3) Secure the lid on the jar. Store the developing extract out of direct sunlight at room temperature and shake it 1 - 2 times weekly. Make sure the vanilla beans stay submerged.
4) Practice patience and restraint. It takes 6 - 12 months for the vanilla beans to turn the alcohol into pure, homemade vanilla extract. After 6 months, most of the vanilla extraction is finished. The vanilla beans can be removed, but if you leave the vanilla beans in the bottle, like wine, the flavor continues to evolve.
Store vanilla extract out of direct sunlight at room temperature, and it will literally last forever or until you use it up.