The Great Vanilla Bean Giveaway

Vanilla Beans

The Saffron saffron contest was so much fun, I decided to do another contest, The Great Vanilla Bean Giveaway from As I mentioned previously, this is a company that provides amazing quality vanilla and saffron at some of the best prices I have ever seen. I’m not getting paid to promote their product, I approched them with the idea of a contest for you, my dear friends!

How do you use vanilla beans?
Carefully halve the bean lengthwise – and lay flat on your cutting board. With the back of your knife, scrape the thousands of vanillin seeds and pulp out. Each bean should yield about 1/2 tsp of vanillin seeds, which corresponds to 2-3 tsp of vanilla extract.

To make vanilla extract, take 1 whole vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise. Place in 3/4 cup of good vodka. Cover and store for 6 months.

How to buy vanilla beans?
According to, look for soft, plump vanilla beans with thin skin. Gently squeeze the vanilla bean with your fingers to feel how thick or thin the skin is. The bean should be black, full of aroma, and a little oily to the touch.

What do you do with the leftover pod?

  • Add it to a canister of sugar to make vanilla-infused sugar
  • Add to a pitcher of spiced or mulled wine
  • Add to a bottle of rum
  • Throw in pot with milk and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Dry, cut into 1/4″ pieces and throw it in your coffee grinder

What’s your favorite way to use the leftover pods?

Vanilla bean “caviar”:

Vanilla Bean Caviar

The Great Vanilla Bean Giveaway!

I’m going to randomly draw 8 lucky winners. Each winner will get 1/2 lb of vanilla beans. Take a look back at the first photo – that is what 1/2 lb looks like! Let’s do the math. The last contest had 137 entries. That’s a pretty good chance of winning!

What is your favorite dish using vanilla? The recipe can call for vanilla beans or vanilla extract.  It can be from your site or someone else’s site. It can be a recipe you’ve tried or it can be one that just looks delicious. See, I’m making it really really simple.

  1. Write the name of the dish below in the form. Link to the dish.
  2. In the comments section, write a comment letting me know that you want to be entered in the contest.

That is all. But you have to do both steps to be eligible.

Contest ends Wednesday, November 7th at noon EST. I’ll then randomly pick 8 winners. The company, will ship directly to you. Good deal?

**BONUS: If you post about this contest on your blog, I’ll give you an extra 2 entries! DUDE, how cool is that???

Enter Name of Dish and link to the dish

STEP 1: Forget Mr. Linky’s directions, follow mine (hey give me a break. It’s a free plugin. I can’t customize it) Enter name any recipe that uses vanilla extract or vanilla beans.  I don’t care who you are in this section. Just type  name of dish (i.e. “Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes”) and the link to it. You can list more than one recipe. We’ll compile a great list of favorite recipes that uses vanilla!

STEP 2: In the COMMENTS section, enter your name and say something, anything. You can give us vanilla tips, fav way to use the leftover pods, or just talk about the damn weather. I will draw from these names.

Wednesday 1:30pm. Contest is closed! I’ll be drawing names later this afternoon tonight tomorrow, after 1 2 3 too many nice, tall glasses of homemade Sangria! Accepting bribes of all sorts until 3pm-ish whenevrwrewrwerrrrrrrr.

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Comments 225

  1. brilynn

    Count me in! I’m currently making my own vanilla extract and vanilla sugar and I can always find a use for another bean…. or half a pound of them.

  2. Jaded

    Lemon Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce

    I made this with my sister for Father’s Day and it was goood! This uses fresh vanilla bean which makes a huge difference than using vanilla extract. I don’t like desserts, but this stuff comes out beautiful and delicious. Perfect for summer (even though it’s fall right now)!

  3. Shorel

    Hey Jaden,
    Did you pass through Yichang (near the Three Gorges) on your trip through the “Motherland”? If so (and had I known earlier) I would have invited you and your family to sample some of the local Tang Bao (??, soup baozi). My wife and I often frequent the local tang bao hole-in-the-wall (in a back alley) restaurant. Well, hopin for some vanilla beans on the other side of the pond! (I figure a company that sells saffron and vanilla beans could spare a few bucks in shipping. :)) Ta ta!

  4. Cara DB

    Jaden wrote: “Hey Cara – this is your bonus entry #2. Thanks for blogging about it!”

  5. Scott E.

    Jaden wrote:
    This is Scott’s bonus entry #1 to contest – thanks for blogging about it!

  6. Scott E.

    Jaden wrote:
    This is Scott’s bonus entry #2 to contest – thanks for blogging about it!

  7. Elizabeth

    If I don’t win I may break down and order some vanilla beans, because there is not a single bean for sale in this city that isn’t a shriveled up and dried out like a petrified worm. Thanks for the contest, Jaden!

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  9. Meryl

    Oh, how silly – I totally used the wrong name in the linky thing above. My bad! It should read Dead Man’s Bread from my Day of the Dead menu!! 🙂 Fun contest Jaden

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  11. Cory

    Please ignore #63, #64 was what I wanted to post. It’s a nice alternative to the choc martini craze from a couple years ago. Very yummy and holiday festive.

  12. DaviMack

    OK, so I read it over … and wondered whether to put the recipe name, or my name (as the form said). I picked the wrong one, now, didn’t I? Carrot Butter is the recipe using vanilla-bean-guts. After you’ve used the guts? Well, I opt for installing the leftover pod in a bottle of vodka kept for the purpose – it makes great extract, after a while!

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  14. threemilechild

    I’m not entering because I just won the saffron (whee!) but the very best thing to do with vanilla is to make very very simple vanilla fudge, maybe with a few crushed toasted walnuts in it.

    Total heaven.

  15. DeVon Zumbrennen

    Please enter me in your contest.

    I love cooking with vanilla beans, but find the cost at the local grocery stores (McCormick) outrageous. I’m glad to find out about

    Thank you,

  16. DeVon Zumbrennen

    Please enter me in your vanilla bean contest.
    I love cooking with real vanilla beans.
    Thank you,

  17. Shorel

    Oops. Guess I forgot to mention that I linked back here with Mamaw’s White Cake. Please put me down for those bonus beans. Ta ta!

  18. Gaby T.

    yum yum yum entry #72 Flan

    Flan is my mom’s standard stand by dessert for pot lucks and parties. When I was little I would stand eagerly by to scrape out any left over sweetened condensed milk from the can and then would scrape up the hardened caramel buttons that had dripped on to the stove. OK you caught me I still do all that.

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