Today I offer a simple idea that solves two problems you didn’t know you had.
After you have used a vanilla bean, say, for rice pudding, or ice cream, or a sauce, dry it off and insert it into your sugar canister. If you’re like me and use a vanilla bean every so often, soon enough you’ll have a small collection of them in there, throwing off wonderful fragrance into your plain white sugar. Voila ~ vanilla sugar!
1. How to reuse a used vanilla bean.
2. How to amp up your sugar.
If you think about it, there are no uses for sugar where a hint of vanilla also wouldn’t be welcome. Can you think of one? I can’t. I put vanilla into everything. Some people put the used vanilla pod into a small jar of sugar, to make vanilla sugar for their coffee or whatever. I say go for the gusto and put the used pods in your main sugar canister. You’ll never look back.
The vanilla in this sugar won’t be so strong that you can get away with omitting the liquid vanilla extract you use for your recipes, but it will be strong enough to give you a whiff when you open the canister.
Wait…it might solve three problems.
3. If you happen to buy beet sugar instead of pure cane sugar (beet sugar is often cheaper), open your canister and take a whiff. It has a rather nasty smell, doesn’t it? The flavor or use of beet sugar isn’t an issue, but the smell isn’t as neutral as pure cane sugar. So vanilla bean pods in your beet sugar radically help the smell. (Not that you go around sniffing your sugar all the time! But still, a baker notices these things.)
Try it and tell me how you like it!