Many recipes call for split and scraped vanilla beans where you are supposed to split the vanilla pod down the center and scrape the beans into whatever you’re cooking. Other recipes call for you to steep vanilla beans in a liquid to extract the flavor. Both of these methods provide for great vanilla flavor but it can seem like a waste to throw the beans away when you’re finished.
Here’s a trick: instead of throwing the used vanilla beans away, you can use them to make vanilla sugar. All you need to do is dry the pods and then bury them in some sugar. It will take a few weeks for the vanilla to absorb into the sugar, but to get a head start, you could start with a whole vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar. From there, you can continuously add any extra vanilla beans you have after using them in other recipes.
Tips for Better Baking – How to Make Vanilla Sugar
Instead of throwing away used vanilla beans, dry them and use them to make vanilla sugar. Simply add a few cups of white granulated sugar to an airtight storage container (this is the container I use) then bury any excess vanilla beans into the sugar and seal with the lid. Let the sugar rest for 1-2 weeks and then use as desired. Continue to add more vanilla beans over time. Vanilla sugar can be used in place of granulated sugar in any recipe.
Bonus tip: For better quality and less expensive vanilla beans, try ordering them online instead of buying them at the grocery store.
To learn more tricks and become a better baker, check out my full list of Tips for Better Baking.