Derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla. Second most expensive spice in the world next to saffron due to the extensive labor required for the growing process, although vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in the world. To use a vanilla pod, split the bean lengthwise, which will expose tiny black beans. These should be scraped out and used in place of vanilla extract in baking. Rule of thumb: 1 bean is enough for an average baking recipe. Once the pod is scraped, it is not necessary to throw away; just add to your sugar bowl for a delightful vanilla sugar. Store the beans in a layer of wax paper; then wrap in a thin plastic bag. Or use an airtight glass container. Do not refrigerate or freeze.