Where to buy Vanilla Beans

Finally, I found fresh vanilla beans in Cold Storage after months searching here and there, in Jusco, Carrefour, Aeon Big, Organic shops and online. Cold Storage is known for stocking rare, delicatessen-type goods that are not normally available in regular supermarkets in Malaysia. I am so happy. I can make my own Vanilla extract from fresh vanilla beans. I can make vanilla ice cream too!

Where can I buy Vanilla Beans

Whole Vanilla Beans

Experience the gloriously fragrant flavour of the world’s finest organic vanilla beans, specially packaged to preserve freshness, 2 whole pods, 5g. Packaged in Australia. Product of Papua New Guinea. Processor 11090P Australian Certified Organic.

Where to buy Vanilla Beans
Vanilla Beans @ Cold Storage Subang Parade
Where to buy Vanilla Beans
Vanilla Beans @ Cold Storage Subang Parade
Where to buy Vanilla Beans
Vanilla Beans @ Cold Storage Sunway Pyramid

It is cheaper to buy Vanilla Beans online. You could order it on eBay or Green Vanilla Store, an eco-sensitive online business located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia selling organic vanilla beans. On Green Vanilla Store, 1 pack 10 beans is RM 78. On eBay is much cheaper, about RM 40 you get 10 beans. However, I prefer to buy Vanilla Beans in store. I bought it at Cold Storage Subang Parade, RM 35.99. The same thing is selling RM 39.99 in Cold Storage Sunway Pyramid. See photos, strange.

What is Vanilla Bean

Used for centuries by the Aztecs, the Vanilla Bean is a type of flowering orchid found in lush tropical regions. Following a lengthy curing process the exquisite aromatic and flavouring qualities are released.

About Queen Vanilla Beans

At harvest the vanilla pods do not have any aroma. The exotic flavour characteristics of vanilla beans develop as a result of an extensive curing process. Queen (EST 1987) Vanilla Beans are sorted according to quality and degree of maturity, and then plunged into hot water over a wood fire. They are held there for 1-3 minutes, then drained and wrapped in a dark cotton cloth and placed in a sweating box. They are left for 24 hours, and then inspected to separate those which have not been ‘killed’. The beans are then sun-dried on dark cloth stands for two hours each day for 6-8 days until they are quite supple. The beans are then dried in the shade for 2-3 months. The beans are inspected daily; those that have dried to a sufficient level are removed immediately. In countries where the weather is inclement in summer, ovens operating at 45-50 degrees are used. The finished beans are then given an airing, re-straightened and sorted before being bundled for shipment.

Queen Fine Foods Pty Ltd.
17-19 Wakefield St Alderley,
Qld 4051 Australia
www.queen.com.au

How to buy Vanilla Beans

Good quality vanilla beans should be chocolate brown to black, supple and flexible, plump, moist and oily with strong aroma. A good test is to tie a knot in the bean. This should be done with ease, without breaking or splitting. When scraping the seeds from the inside of the pod, the seeds should come off the skin easily, with no mushy residue being evident. You can scrape the seeds carefully using a teaspoon. You may often see tiny white crystals on the inside or outside of the bean. These are the vanillin crystals. Beans to avoid are those with very little scent, which are smokey, brittle or dry, or are mildewed. Size does matter when it comes to buying vanilla beans. The conventional wisdom is the longer the bean the superior its quality. Although longer beans contain a larger percentage of the seeds, shorter beans can be of a similar quality and flavour. It is this larger percentage of seeds in a bean that justifies the higher price for longer beans.

How to store Vanilla Beans

Keep the vanilla beans in an airtight, sealed container (recommend a glass jar) at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Open it every couple of weeks or so to let the air circulate. It can be stored for 12 months or more. Do not store vanilla beans in the refrigerator or freezer. The cold will dry them out and may promote mold. The important thing is that the temperature is kept relatively constant and that air is allowed to circulate a bit. If the beans do dry out a bit, you can place a half of a small potato in a jar with them to soften them for use. You can also soften them a bit by placing them in some warm water or milk just before use. If they are vacuum-packed, keep them that way until use.

Do not worry if you see whitish powder on the surface of the beans for those are vanillin crystals. These crystals are quite edible and very flavourful. If you are uncertain whether the beans are covered with vanillin crystals or mildewed, take them into the sunlight. The crystals are similar to mineral crystals and will reflect the sun’s rays, creating the colours of the rainbow. Mildew, on the other hand, will be dull and flat in the light, and may also smell bad. If the bean is mildewed, throw it away as the mildew will spread to uninfected beans.

How to use Vanilla Beans

For delicious results in sauces and desserts, use the whole bean, or just the vanilla seeds. The pod has more flavour than the seeds. Cut the bean and use a portion at a time or you can use the whole bean, depending on the depth of flavour required. Vanilla beans can usually be used several times. Rinse and dry the bean pieces after using them. Just air-dry the pieces and you can use them to make vanilla sugar, coffee and tea or finely ground to make vanilla powder to add additional flavour to ice-creams, cookies and cereals. If there is only the pod left, or, if the bean has been used several times for flavouring beverages let the pieces dry, and mix in with sugar or coffee in a jar.

How to cut Vanilla Beans

To cut open a bean, lay it flat on a cutting surface. Holding one end of the bean to the surface, carefully slice the bean with a knife length-wise. Then, carefully scrape the fleshy seeds into the liquid mixture to be flavoured. You can also add in the bean pod. Infuse for at least 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean at the end when your preparation is ready leaving behind just the tiny black seeds. Ideally, you would allow this steep for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bean pod before using.

Vanilla Beans Recipe

How to make Vanilla Sugar

Place vanilla bean in container with about 250g sugar. Seal. Set aside for at least 1 week. Use this vanilla favoured sugar to sweeten coffee and milk drinks, in baking or dusting cakes.

Vanilla Bean Pannacotta Recipe

300ml light thickened cream
200ml milk
1 whole Vanilla Bean Pod
1 ½ teaspoons gelatin (softened in 2 tablespoons of warm water)
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 cups red and black berries to garnish

Split Vanilla Bean pod lengthways and scrape vanilla seeds into the combined milk and cream. In non-aluminium saucepan combine cream, milk, sugar, scraped vanilla seeds and split pod. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly almost to boiling point. (Do not boil).

Take saucepan from heat, remove vanilla pod. Add softened gelatin and whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved into warm cream. Cool for half an hour in fridge, stir to allow vanilla seeds to float through cream. Pour into 6 small (oiled) moulds and set in fridge for at least 2 hours. To serve, unmould Vanilla Bean Pannacotta or spoon onto a plate, garnish with berries. Serves 6.

More: How to make Vanilla Extract from Vanilla Beans (DIY Vanilla Extract)

One comment

  • Rozella
    November 13, 2013 - 1:05 am | Permalink

    Cool article! I will definately save this for future reference.

    Cheers!

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