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Building a Vanilla Sweat Box

This arti­cle is an addi­tion to the 2‑part How to Cure Vanilla Beans arti­cle.  A crit­i­cal stage in the cur­ing of vanil­la is the “sweat,” where the enzy­mat­ic process that devel­ops the vanillin takes place. The sweat box cre­ates an envi­ron­ment that holds the beans at the opti­mal tem­per­a­ture for this process. In the How to Cure Vanilla Beans arti­cle, I describe how to put togeth­er an ad hoc sweat box using a cool­er and hot water bot­tles. In this arti­cle, I will describe how I built the elec­tri­cal­ly heat­ed sweat box used to han­dle larg­er quan­ti­ties of vanil­la pods.

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How to Cure Vanilla Beans, Part 1

I occa­sion­al­ly get ques­tions from peo­ple who are grow­ing their own vanil­la and want to know the best way to cure the beans. Getting a good cure out of your beans can be a lit­tle chal­leng­ing, but hope­ful­ly, this guide will make it eas­i­er. This guide is spe­cif­ic to the cur­ing method we use here on Kauai. It is adapt­ed from the “bour­bon” method used in equa­to­r­i­al areas. Kauai is too cool and cloudy dur­ing the cur­ing sea­son to rely on the sun for heat­ing the beans, so we use elec­tric­i­ty to main­tain cur­ing tem­per­a­tures. It is essen­tial that vanil­la be prop­er­ly cured in order to obtain the desired aro­ma and fla­vor from your vanil­la beans. Processing vanil­la beans is… (read)

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