By Chad | October 1, 2019
Hello readers, and welcome to my learning corner of Lone Goose Bakery. My name is Chad, let's have a little sit-down to talk about things you should probably pay a bit more attention to in life. For our first conversation on life's small improvements, let's talk about the Vanilla Bean in all its glory.
If your thirst for knowledge goes beyond my article, I'll be adding a few links you can click on to dive a bit deeper into vanilla bean facts. With that said, let's do this!
Introduction Mk II
If you’re like me, you probably spend most of your mornings Googling where the nearest Starbucks is, or you're already at the one you frequently visit. You're unavoidably scrolling through your shattered phone screen, or you're looking at the imposing Starbucks menu making the difficult choice of what to drink. A line of business people and teenagers that are there to get their caffeine fix forms behind you, stressing you out. Then you realize there’s one flavor that usually stands out, and that flavor is, JOHN CENA! No, just kidding, it’s vanilla.
Vanilla Frappuccino is a straightforward drink, but man is it delicious. It has that sweet finish from the bean itself, and possibly the pounds of sugar I add to every cup. Want some coffee with your sugar? I sure do!
Let's talk about the mighty vanilla bean and why it warrants such a lengthy post. Did you know that vanilla is the second most expensive spice on the market? The only spice more expensive is saffron. Vanilla by itself has a robust flavor but isn't something you would want to take shots of in its concentrated form. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but you should probably make vanilla beans a part of your life. Just don't take shots of pure vanilla. Trust me.
When you choose to use vanilla in a recipe, keep in mind that there are many different types of vanilla beans. The end product varies down to how and where the vanilla beans are harvested. The most popular source is Madagascar. You can find it in your morning coffee, infused in your favorite vodka, and even in that super yummy cake you're baking: the Madagascar vanilla bean.
The Madagascar Vanilla Bean
Madagascar is the top exporter of vanilla beans. You might have heard otherwise, from a small group of penguins, but believe me, they were just up to no good. Just smile and wave. The Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean is the most flavorful and has the most robust buttery aroma of all the vanilla beans on our little blue planet. Not even vanilla from Mexico can hold up to these mighty pods full of rich, dark, and creamy goodness.
The reason why Madagascar vanilla beans are at the top of the vanilla bean leaderboards is that they're processed using the bourbon curing method. This process allows the beans to retain their moisture content. That means you won’t find many splits or breaks within the bean, keeping it an absolute unit of flavor.
Uses for Vanilla Beans
Speaking of the pods, even after you’ve extracted the beautiful inside bits you can still use the outer shell for many other things. Every part of this bad boy is usable, as it’s all very rich in taste and aroma.
For example, let's look at one way to make vanilla sugar. Take time to dry out your spent pods, usually overnight. Then mix your dried pods in an airtight jar of sugar and shake it up like you need that kind of drama in your life. Store your jar in a cool, dark place, for anywhere from a week to a month. The longer it sits, the more time the vanilla has to infuse with the sugar. After enough time has passed, sift out the beans and badda-bing, badda-boom! You have yourself some delectable vanilla sugar to toss on top of or into your favorite treats.
Vanilla sugar works excellent in cookies. From standard chocolate chip to rare butterscotch cookies, all the way to your grandma's chocolate-chip-cookies-that-aren’t-really-chocolate-chip-but-the-infamous-oatmeal-raisin. Of course, we fall for it every time and eat them without making a fuss because we love grandma. Surprise, grandma proofread this article a month ago and made the cookies with vanilla sugar, making them super tasty! Disclaimer: no grandmas were hurt in the making of this article. Grandma's cookies are always amazing, no matter what.
Vanilla isn't reserved just for sweet treats. Infuse it into your favorite vodka! Mix some extra flavor into your morning pancakes. Is that Thanksgiving gravy too dull? Well, next time toss in some vanilla extract, and you've got a whole new dressing! Do you make bread at home? Add some vanilla into the dough, and you will be happy with every bite. I can’t think of anything you couldn’t add vanilla to and not improve the taste. Except for olives, there’s no helping those nasty little things.
Health Benefits of Vanilla Beans
Now that you’re 100% sold on getting some of those Madagascar vanilla beans for the kitchen, why don't we talk about how they’re not just great for foodstuffs. There are health benefits to vanilla beans!
Vanilla beans have potent antioxidants, which makes them a great way to help prevent diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants help protect you from the free radicals your body produces as a natural byproduct of cell activity. Vanilla beans can also help reduce heart issues and lower your cholesterol by lowering atherosclerosis and inflammation.
Feeling down with a cold or the dreaded flu? While you’re grabbing your feel-bad-blankie and turning on Netflix to watch The Office, don't forget about eating a meal made with some of those sweet vanilla beans. The pods themselves are antibacterial, combined with the bean's antioxidants, vanilla beans help promote natural growth and give you an immunity booster.
Are you looking to lose some weight? Well, you’ll never guess, vanilla beans can also help with that! Are you starting to see a pattern? Vanilla beans have a magnitude of benefits! Research has shown that vanilla extract helps suppress appetite by stimulating your metabolism and increasing your digestion, helping you get to that target weight quicker.
Hate getting old? Well too bad because there’s no way to stop that. What you can do is help prevent your skin from aging prematurely. Remember when I mentioned those crazy antioxidants found in the vanilla bean? Well, they’re back, and they’re here to help treat that skin damage from wrinkles and aging spots. There’s a reason you see vanilla extract in tons of cosmetic products, like skincare, hair stuff, and the perfumes, because not only is it a pleasant smell but it’s perfect for your skin, hair, and happiness.
Learning Corner Conclusion
You’re right, those were some great questions about vanilla beans, and I answered them correctly in every way possible, and you’re welcome for that. Thank you for stopping by my learning corner about how vanilla beans can improve your life.
If you want to get your hands on some of that vanilla goodness, then look no further, Lone Goose Bakery has got your back! Just click here to start shopping and while you're at it check out some of our recipes. Then you'll be set like the Totonac Aztec-age people of the 15th century.
I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t like the smell or taste of vanilla, and I've met at least like eight people, so I'm obviously an authority on the subject. From ice cream to your hair care products, promoting healthy blood flow, all the way to keeping your skin looking smooth and young, vanilla beans are great. It is a do-all kind of plant, and it’s everywhere for a good reason.
I hope you learned something and are interested in letting vanilla beans into your life. Not only for those delicious baked goods but for your health too. Also so you can send me all of the beautiful butterscotch cookies topped with the vanilla sugar we spoke of earlier. I’m just kidding, please don’t send any more cookies. There are so many...