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Smart staples: Vanilla pods

Smart staples: Vanilla pods

Vanilla adds a delicious twist to sweet treats. The pods hold the tiny seeds and you’ll find them in the spice section of the supermarket or with the sugar.


In an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to two years.

How to use

Slit the pod along its length, open it up and use either whole or simply scrape out the sticky seeds using the tip of a knife.

Whole pods

  • Use whole pods to infuse hot milk. Leave for an hour or more so you can make your own vanilla custard or milky puddings. The longer you leave the pod in the milk, the more intense the vanilla flavour.
  • For flavoured sugar, add whole pods to sugar and place in a sealed jar. Leave for at least five days then use in puddings and cakes. The vanilla can remain in the sugar for longer — simply add more sugar as you use it.
  • Add whole pods to fruits you are poaching such as plums, apricots or apples. The flavour will develop as the fruits cool. Remove the pods before serving.

Vanilla seeds

  • Mix seeds into low-fat yoghurt or low-fat crème fraiche and serve as a dipping sauce for strawberries or other fresh fruit.
  • You can also stir seeds into low-fat yoghurt and mix with crushed meringue and summer berries to create a vanilla-flavoured Eton mess.
First published: Sep 2015

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