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The vanilla flavour is contained in the pod itself and in the thousands of tiny black vanilla seeds along the inside of the pod. Splitting it releases the flavour.
To use your gourmet vanilla pod, take a sharp knife, hold it firmly at one end, and split it lengthways so you have two halves of the pod flat on the chopping board.
Now you need to infuse the ingredients with the vanilla. This is usually milk, but it can be in alcohol, fruit juice or syrup. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add both vanilla seeds and the split pod to your infusion. Heat the milk gently for about 10 minutes, do not boil, then strain and remove pod. Use the milk in your recipe for a superb vanilla flavour
Make your very own vanilla extract by infusing vanilla pods in alcohol!
Vodka is the best as it has the least taste. I usually use a half bottle of inexpensive vodka, and add the chopped (1cm pieces is fine) vanilla pods directly to it. 10gms of vanilla in 100mls alcohol is known as "single fold" extract. The longer you leave it the stronger your extract will become. Shake as often as you like. Unscrew the cap to enjoy the fabulous vanilla aroma.