I have just received a bunch of Madagascar Beans. They are dried and brittle, how can I revive them to be more pliable? I've read that some ways is:
Spritz the dired bean with water and wrap in a paper towel and place in the microwave.
Place in 2 inches of vodka or rum.
What is the best way to revive these dried Madagascar beans.
Would appreciate any input.
do they have much/any vanilla smell to them???
i don't know
maybe they coul still enhance some granulated sugar or use to make vanilla
but i don't know
i used the moist ones for stuff
never had any dry ones until after i harvested the caviar
ok though i would not heat them much
maybe do a test and try a gentle low temperature steam
if there is sucha thing
high temps are avoided due to changing the flavor
The ones I just bought are brittle, too, but I was so happy to find any at all that I bought them anyway. No problem for me since I'm planning to make vanilla extract. I wonder what would happen if you buried them in some moist sugar for a few days - at the very least you'd probably get vanilla sugar and it might even soften the beans. When I say moist sugar, I mean the consistency of wet sand - it doesn't take a lot of water to do this, just a few drops at a time so as not to overdo it.
oh i forgot though
they do mold so easy
water is not a friend to the vanilla pod
i say cut 'em up and drop 'em in the booze for some tasty vanilla
might need to add some fresh ones--maybe maybe not
i made some for the kids for christmas one year
and my son used some of his for a teaspoon of flavor in a mixed adult drink for an open house
my daughter bakes with hers
If the dried beans are to be used for vanilla extract, go right ahead and make it if you are using 40% (80 proof) alcohol because there is plety of water to soften the beans.
If the beans are to be used for baking and you find them difficult to cut, then put them into some vanilla extract and both will improve after a week's contact.
Ah, BakingIrene, leave it to you to come up with the best solution! I think I'll do this with my beans instead of making the extract with vodka. Thanks for the idea!
Ummmm...vodka IS 40% alcohol (80 US proof). And 60% water.
I LOVE vanilla. I have used vodka, rum, and overproof rum to extract various batches of vanilla beans some of which were pretty dry at the start.
First of all I soak the whole beans. They absorb a small amount of alcohol but a significant amount of water from the 40-60 mix. After about a week, they can be chopped easily if that is what you want. They reach saturation (stop absorbing water) after a month at room temperature.
I have also used cheap bulk real vanilla extract on dried-out beans. You get moist beans and the vanilla tastes a lot better.
I'm actually interested in making extract. What gave you the best results for that, BakingIrene?
From my own experience, both rum and vodka worked equally well. It takes 6 months at room temperature. Of course you can start a new batch every month or two if you use that much vanilla.
I give the whole beans 2 months because the skin of the bean has some essential components of the final extract.
Then I chop the softened beans and put them back into the same liquor to dissolve the resin that surrounds the seeds. This stage takes some regular shaking as well as the 4 months of soaking.
For one batch, I had an extra final step--I added 2 ounces of sugar to a batch with beans extracted with 12 ounces of vodka. The sugar helped to draw the rest of the flavours from the soft skins (they shrivelled up after a month). The entire product was what I would call a "gold standard" for cold extraction--even if there is sugar added.
Thanks for these tips, BakingIrene. I just started a batch yesterday with the tail end of some commercial extract, some vodka and my beans. I'll follow your method and see what comes up. I'd like to do some extracts for Christmas gifts this year, as well as for my own kitchen, so I'll probably be starting several more batches before long. Once I split the beans open, by the way, I was surprised to find the insides weren't all that dry, but still not the best for scraping. This is something new for me, but I really love vanilla and am fascinated by the process of making extracts.