3 things you may not know about vanilla
- Originally from Mexico, vanilla beans are the dried, cured seed cases of an orchid plant that flowers only once a year, and the pods are harvested by hand.
- An infused vanilla pod can be removed from your recipe, washed, dried and used over again.
- Vanilla is second only to saffron in price for spices.
2 ways to try vanilla right now
- In a vanilla cherry sauce over decadent ice cream desserts.
- Warm yourself up on a cold day with a toddy of new Bacardi Vaníla, a vanilla rum (try it with ginger ale), or Smirnoff's Vanilla Twist vodka, perfect for a martini with a new taste.
3 types of vanilla to try
- Madagascar Bourbon, Mexican and Tahitian. The first two have a stronger aroma, while Tahitian pods tend to be a little more delicate.
1 thing to remember at the grocery store
- Look for optimum length 6- to 8-inch dark brown pods that are moist, pliable and glossy.
1 easy way to enjoy vanilla every day
- Keep two or three pods in a large jar of sugar. Use the vanilla sugar in coffee and when baking for added flavour.
2 tips you can't live without
- Invest in buying real vanilla extract, even if it's only a small amount - you can definitely taste the difference. And note that the best vanilla extracts identify the type of bean used.
- Let recipes cool for a few minutes before adding vanilla extract. If you add it to hot food, the alcohol in the extract will evaporate, and so will some of the vanilla flavour.
The Canadian Living Recipes section has many delicious recipes featuring vanilla for you to try.