The Q&A Archives: Identification Of Pods

Question: I wanted to send you a photo which would make it easier but will try to describe instead.

I bought a number of dried brown pods, about the size of a french runner bean, in Madeira recently, thinking they were dried bananas. I have chewed one and it does have the slight taste of a banana but obviouly is not, as they are dried pods of some sort, containing flat, oval seeds about 1cm long. They must be a fruit as I bought them from a fruit stall.

I don't know what to do with them but they were expensive!

Any thoughts please?

Answer: My first thought is that they are vanilla beans. Especially since you purchased them at a fruit stall. Perhaps you could find a gourmet cookery shop offering whole vanilla beans (as one might use to flavor sugar to use in baking) and compare them. Unfortunately we are unable to accept photos.

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