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Food glossary

Vanilla

Vanilla

Extract

This is the natural extract obtained from vanilla beans, it is sold as a liquid in small bottles. Also known as vanilla essence.

Uses: To flavour custards, sweet sauces, cold sweets, puddings, cream, ice cream, cakes and cake fillings. In some dishes it is used in addition to another flavouring.

To store: Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Pods

These are the dried pods of a Mexican orchid, which give the true flavour of vanilla. The seeds and the pod can be used as a flavouring - the seeds have a stronger flavour than the pod. Vanilla pods are sold in small jars with the herb and spices.

Uses: Break a piece off, split and drop it into heating milk to flavour sauces, custards and milk puddings. If rinsed in warm water after use, dried carefully, and kept buried in sugar, a pod can be used several times before its aroma fades, the sugar will also take on a delicious vanilla aroma.

To store: Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.