Vanilla flavors our favorite cookies, cakes, and ice creams. Although the most common form of vanilla is extract, we like using vanilla beans because they have the most nuanced flavor of any vanilla product. Plus, we love seeing those black specks throughout our desserts. We would use them more frequently if we could, but they’re expensive.
Once you scrape the seeds from the inside of the pod for a recipe, don’t throw the empty pod away. We spoke with chefs and cookbook authors Erin McDowell and Shauna Sever as well as co-founder of the chocolate company Beyond Good, Tim McCollum about how they use their empty pods. Here’s one idea we loved: Make vanilla sugar or salt.