So. The vanilla bean. The wondrous fruit of the Orchidaceae family of orchids (I didn't just make that up, click to learn about the vanilla orchid). Even though I could go on ad nauseum about the scientific and botanical importance of this fruit, I will refrain. I will instead tell you what I like to do with it!
|A vanilla bean, split and scraped.|
Awesome vanilla/coffee idea number one: Get a little mason jar (the kind you use to make homemade jam) and place your scraped vanilla bean pod(s) in and fill the jar with white granulated sugar. Give it a couple weeks and the sugar will be infused with the vanilla essence. Use the sugar in coffee, gentle black or white teas, on top of sugar cookies for baking... Or any other sugar application that would benefit from a hint of vanilla. No need to toss the vanilla pods out after they have mingled with the sugar for two weeks, I've left mine in for more than six months and they simply continue to impart their aroma and flavor into the sugar.
Idea number two: infused coffee!
|My favorite at home brew in the background, Peet's Coffee (Major Dickason's Blend). Not widely available--yet--on the East coast (a staple on shelves on the corners of intersections in the Pacific Northwest), but if you can find it, give it a try. It won me over after the first sip.|
|There's my Keurig and my new favorite coffee mug from another Pacific Northwest institution, Seattle's Best Coffee (which is incidentally owned by Starbucks, and which I prefer to their powerful and popular big brother corporation).|