I splurged and bought fresh vanilla beans. I have never been in possession of such a delectable, potent smelling substance. When I made the change to real vanilla extract after growing up in a family that only used the imitation vanilla extract, I thought that was heavenly. This far surpasses that in aroma.
In honor of these beans, I bought a brand new herb mill. (in reality, it's an electric coffee bean grinder.) After cutting open the pods and scraping out the seeds, I popped the pods into the mill with another whole bean and added them to a strawberry ginger salt scrub. The seeds and one whole other bean chopped up were deposited in a bottle of extra virgin olive oil to make a scented massage oil. Oh my, this is going to be truly decadent.
Two beans I put out to dry and I have yet to decide what to do with the other 5 beans. Do I make more product? Do I cook with them? Can I afford to buy more? Such wonderful dilemmas!