Store all items in this kit in air-tight containers in a cool, dark, dry place.
Once the seal is broken on the 1lb pack of vanilla beans, they should be packed in sugar or in plastic bags with as much air as possible removed (ideally re-vacuum packed using a home vacuum pump) to preserve them at best quality.
This kit was designed to make it easy for you to make spice gift baskets for friends, family, coworkers, etc. We recommend separating these bulk-packaged items into separate jars or decorative bags, labeling them and packing them in baskets, gift bags or shipping them as care packages.
To best preserve their quality, vanilla beans should be repackaged packed in sugar (which will protect them while becoming scented with vanilla essence), or vacuum packed using a food preservation vacuum system. Keeping them out of the air will help them stay moist and flavorful. In a pinch you can pack them in plastic bags with as much air as possible pressed out.
See below for recipes & usage tips you can pass along to the recipients:
General Spice Information:
How to Grind Spices
Additional Spice Recipes & Techniques
How to Use a Vanilla Bean
There are dozens of ways to use vanilla beans. When you have a recipe that calls for the inner seeds of vanilla beans, don’t throw away the pod. They still have plenty of flavor left in them that can be extracted by steeping the pod in alcohol or hot liquids (cream, simple syrup, milk, etc).
How to Make Vanilla Extract
Grains of Paradise:
Grains of Paradise are best infused in liquids or ground before use. They have a spicy, piney, peppery flavor that pairs well with fruit (peaches, plums, lemon), potatoes, eggplant, lamb, cloves, and/or cinnamon. They can be used as a black pepper substitute in some dishes, imparting a hotter, piney-er flavor.
Cardamom pods can be used whole (usually bruised or cracked), or their inner seeds can be extracted and used (frequently ground). When whole pods are used, they are often steeped in liquids and then discarded, or left in dishes but not consumed.
Cardamom can be used in ice cream, tea, coffee, pastries, sausage, meat dishes & more. Pair it with poultry, lamb, fruit, milk or cream, rice, cinnamon and/or cloves.
Juniper berries have a piney, resinous flavor that is often used in sauces, marinades and other preparations for game meats, game birds (especially duck or goose) and pork.
Star anise has a strong anise/licorice flavor that is used in savory dishes from China, Iran and India as well as some desserts. It is usually either steeped in liquids into infuse them with flavor (and then discarded) or ground.
Pair star anise with ingredients like dried chile peppers, ginger, Szechuan peppercorns, pork, garlic, beef and/or soy sauce.
Lavender buds are intensely aromatic with a sweet, floral, flavor. They can be used in sweet, savory, or beverage applications – pair them with dairy (cream, milk, butter), honey, fish, poultry, sheep or goat’s milk cheeses, cardamom, thyme, tarragon, allspice. A little goes a long way.
Lavender can be ground with salt or sugar to flavor them. It is prized for its calming scent – so some people sew lavender buds into eye masks, pillows and sachets or add them to potpourri.