When I want the flavor of vanilla in my green smoothies, I used to use a little vanilla extract. It wasn’t until I finally got around to buying some actual vanilla beans that I realized just how much I love real vanilla.
It’s pretty easy to use, but if you’re a vanilla newbie, you might wonder how to quickly and easily get the vanilla out of the bean. That’s what I’m going to show you below.
While vanilla beans can be expensive (I’ve seen them for as much as $2.99 PER BEAN at health food stores!), you can also get them at places like Costco or even Amazon.com for much less.
Here is how I remove the edible vanilla from the bean or pod the quick and easy (and mess-free) way:
Step 1: Flatten The Vanilla Bean
Flattening the vanilla beans makes it easier to cut into it. I just run my thumb and index finger along the top and bottom of the vanilla bean to flatten it out (you do not need to press it flat, just “smooth” it flat).
The last batch of vanilla beans I bought were already flattened, so you might not need to do this step.
Step 2: Cut The Ends Off Of The Bean
This will help you open it easier after you have cut into it.
Step 3: Cut Along The Length Of The Bean
Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through. Do not cut it in half. Instead, cut just deep enough to open the bean from one end to the other.
Step 4: Use A Spoon To Scrape Out The Vanilla
Spread apart one end of the bean. Using a spoon, place it in the end that you have just spread apart. Then scrape the spoon all along the length of the bean. The spoon will force the rest of the bean open as you drag it down the incision you made in step 3.
Step 5: Add Your Vanilla To Your Recipe
The vanilla is very messy so I would not recommend touching it with your hands. If you do, make sure to wash them before you touch anything else.
I like to use a piece of fruit or another piece of smoothie ingredient to remove the vanilla from the spoon so I don’t get it on my hands.