Making the Most of Vanilla Beans: Have You Tried This Tip?

Sarabeth Levine's Chow Tip method of getting all those teeny tiny seeds out of a vanilla pod has intrigued me since I first spotted it over at a few months ago. Vanilla pods aren't in the budget right now, so I haven't had the chance to give her method a try. Have you?

Sarabeth's tip is simple, but it does need some advanced planning. After slicing off the tips of vanilla pods, she places them cut side down in a jar filled with about two inches of rum. After sitting in the rum for 2 1/2 weeks, the pods have plumped up and become very pliable. Then it's just a matter of sliding your fingers down the length of the pod and all the delicious little seeds gush out the cut end.

How is this better than running a knife down a pod that's been sliced open? I'm not sure except when I've done that, it seems like a fair amount of seeds remain and if the pod has dried out, little bits of the pod come with it. Also, the seeds are a little sticky and clumpy. I like the way Sarabeth's seeds just flow out in a smooth stream. And her bonus tip of drying the pods and then pulverizing them in a grinder is brilliant. Definitely no waste there.

So, does anyone have a report on this method? Is it worth the wait?

Related: What Are Some Good Uses for Vanilla Pods?

(Image: CHOW)

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Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, September, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.