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In many recipes, you are told that you have to split the vanilla bean to get the black seeds. Very well, but how do you split the pod? It may seem simple at first, but there is a technique that allows you to gain comfort and efficiency, why not try it?
Most of the time, when we are in front of a vanilla bean for the first time, we legitimately wonder how to go about splitting it. Some people use the "top" technique, which consists of splitting the vanilla bean on the top along its entire length. However, in this way, you end up having to split the sides of the bean to be able to remove the black seeds. The solution is actually very simple, as you will see. To split your vanilla bean, take a knife. With it, lightly crush the whole bean lengthwise. Then, insert the knife on the side and cross the pod. Go back up to open the top part and then go all the way down the pod, but not all the way to the end. All you have to do is open the pod and run the knife along the entire length to retrieve the seeds
When you prepare a recipe, whether it is a dessert or a savoury dish, you are asked to split the vanilla bean to extract the black seeds. These are the seeds that reveal all the taste of vanilla that will flavour your creams, ice creams, yoghurts and other desserts. Scraping a vanilla bean allows you to extract the seeds, of course, but it also serves to infuse the bean so that it releases all its flavours. To make a custard for example, split the vanilla bean and put it in hot milk, it will be deliciously flavoured.
No, you can also choose to infuse your vanilla bean without splitting it first. However, this is less interesting from a taste point of view, it is still preferable to open it and scrape it so that the taste is always more intense. And then, admit it, it's still prettier to present a cream or an ice cream with these small black dots. They assure your guests that you have used real vanilla and not a flavouring that is not always very natural and whose taste is not always there.
As we have seen, it is best to split the vanilla bean to get the quintessence of it. Then, you are free to take the black seeds or to infuse your bean. But its use does not stop there. Above all, do not throw away your vanilla bean once you have used the seeds. When the bean is emptied of its seeds, it becomes spent vanilla. And it is still useful. You can place pods in sugar to make vanilla sugar or arranged rum. You can blend them to make vanilla powder or vanilla paste. If you need ideas, check out page 11 on "All About Vanilla": "What to do with a used vanilla bean".