Thursday, 14 October 2010

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Vanilla Pod/Vaniljestanger/香子兰英 [xiāng zǐ lán yīng]


For recipes that call for vanilla extract, you can use also choose to use vanilla bean. It does not contain addictive and preservative, unlike most commercial vanilla extract.

Directions:
1. Slice vanilla bean lengthwise down the center with a sharp knife (but don’t cut all the way through, just 1 layer). With your fingers, spread bean open, then scrape out and reserve teh black oily seeds with a metal teaspoon. Use the seeds directly in ice-cream, dessert, cakes, etc . OR

2. Chop the pod up and blend it with other ingredients of your dessert.

Tips:
1. Don’t throw away the de-seeded pod. You can make your own vanilla extract by soaking it in rum or brandy to and shaking it once in a while for a month. It is ready to be used OR

2. You can soak it in water overnight until the pod becomes soft. Then chop it up and blend it. Use it in dessert or ice-cream, etc.

Health benefits:
Vanilla is known to be a great anti-oxidant that helps to avert numerous health complications. The scent of vanilla seems to have a soothing effect on most people and is used in aromatherapy . If you suffer from insomnia, hogging on vanilla ice cream may put you to sleep. It relaxes the nervous system and lowers blood pressure too.

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Additional Information:
Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family, which is the largest family of flowering plants in the world, with over 35,000 species worldwide. Vanilla is an expensive spice due to the extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods.

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