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Apricot Vanilla Bean Fruit Leather ~ Gourmet Edition ~

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Vanilla blends naturally with apricot’s sharper flavor.  Apricot recipes traditionally call for this sweet, fragrant spice.  You can use either fresh vanilla scraped from the pod or vanilla extract, and it will impart a warm, mellow flavor to an apricot recipe.

Because I am always fascinated as to how things grow and how they are processed, I had to do some digging around about vanilla.  This stuff never ceases to amaze me.  Cultivating vanilla beans is a lengthy and labor-intensive process, as each flower must be hand pollinated to ensure it produces a bean. This might  help  explain why it is so expensive.  It is the second most expensive spice after Saffron.  And to complicate matters, a flower only lives for one day!   Its beans grow to between 6 and 10 inches long and resemble a green string bean.  To develop their signature flavor, the beans must endure an elaborate, three to four month curing and sun drying process.  Once this is complete, the beans are graded and bundled to ship to the United States.

When the beans arrive in the United States, they are either packaged as vanilla beans, or used to create the amber liquid known as the magic spoonful – pure vanilla extract.  The vanilla extract is aged to perfection before it is bottled and sent to the grocery store.

Ingredients: yields 3 cups puree5 cups sliced apricots

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds, ground in spice grinder
  • 1 vanilla bean (seeds only)
  • 1 pinch sea salt

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