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 Chow.com 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?