Tahitian Vanilla Beans, DIY Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Sugar

Posted on September 12 2014


What prompted this post was a fresh batch of Tahitian vanilla beans that arrived to Tea and Chi this morning. It’s making my office/storage smell good enough to eat. In fact I’ve not stopped being hungry today and I’m blaming the creamy/delicious fragrance of the vanilla for it.

We buy several pounds of vanilla bean at a time. Some of it will go to our wholesale accounts, they purchase pound packs, some of it is chopped and used in our tea blends and some gets split up into 10 bean, or “by the bean” lots to be sold through the store to retail customers. That’s what I was doing today when Sandy, an almost daily regular, came in for her Irish Breakfast and asked how the beans could be used. There are, of course, any number of ways to capture the delicious aroma and flavour of vanilla beans but, since it’s coming up to the time of the year when you might be thinking of gift giving, I decided to share two very simple recipes suited to that purpose; DIY vanilla extract and Vanilla Sugar.

Vanilla Extract

Small, pretty glass bottles

A quantity of decent, but not great vodka

2-6 vanilla beans per pint of vodka you’ll be using.

Split the vanilla beans the long way, using the tip of a knife. Make sure you retrieve any errand vanilla seed since that is where the flavour lives. . Cover with vodka. Put in a dark, cool place for 2 to 4 months. The longer you steep, the more flavour you extract and the fewer beans you’ll need. Strain into your pretty bottles, label and let the gift giving begin!


Vanilla Sugar

One cup sugar

One vanilla bean

1 cup mason jar

Cut vanilla bean lengthwise with the tip of a knife and scrape all the seeds into the sugar and then add the sbean as well. Close tightly, shake and leave for two weeks. Multiply quantities above to make as many gifts as you want. Label after two weeks and you are ready to use or share!



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