Fresh vanilla beans are pods that are harvested from an orchid plant. The vanilla orchid plants are grown commercially in many regions including Mexico, Tahiti and Madagascar. The 5- to 9-inch long whole beans will last for months when stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. The bean will eventually dehydrate, shrink and dry out. It can be re-hydrated and saved for more cooking projects and baking recipes.
Pour water or vanilla extract to a 1- to 2-inch height in a microwave safe food container or saucepan.
Warm the liquid for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave or heat until medium warm on the stove top. The liquid should not be hot to the touch.
Pour the warm liquid into a container with a cover.
Place the brittle bean into the liquid to immerse it. Snap the cover on to the container.
Soak until the bean is plump. Use the rehydrated bean for the recipe right away.