Vanilla beans are a costly commodity, so when we splurge to add them to recipes, we want to make sure we get every last seed from the pod. The usual method is to scrape out the tiny, tacky seeds with a paring knife, but inevitably some get left behind. We’ve found a more effective approach: Use some of the sugar in your recipe as an abrasive to literally scrub off all the seeds.
1. Using a sharp paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Gently pull open each half of the bean to expose the seeds in the interior.
2. Measure out the sugar in the recipe and place it in a bowl. Holding the split pod over the bowl, sprinkle several generous pinches of sugar along the pod’s interior.
3. Run your thumb down the pod, using the sugar to “scrub” the seeds into the bowl. Repeat sprinkling and rubbing until all the seeds are stripped away. Repeat with the second half of the bean.
4. Discard the pods and rub the tacky sugar-coated seeds between your fingers to break up clumps. The vanilla sugar is now ready to use in your recipe.