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Vanilla beans and their derivatives are commonly used in many dishes as a spice.

The whole beans are available for purchase in stores and online. I understand that plain fruits and vegetables (when there is no concern of Israeli produce, as is the case here TTBOMK) generally do not need certification to ensure their Kashrut (though they may need to be cleaned well).

I see though that whole vanilla beans are often described as "cured" (eg. here or here or here). I don't know what exactly this process entails, and I wouldn't be surprised if there is some variation in the process among different growers and distributors.

I tried searching the internet for discussion of the need for certification of the Kashrut of vanilla beans, but only found discussions relating to vanilla extract, a product with a more involved manufacturing process involving alcohol where a certification of Kashrut seems appropriate.

Have any modern rabbis or recognized Kashrut certification agencies commented about the acceptability of uncertified whole vanilla beans, both in general and particularly as regards "cured" beans?

(This seller says "Vanilla beans, an agricultural product, are Generally Recognized as Kosher (GRAK) and need no Kosher certification." I'm looking for a more authoritative and trustworthy source than a (non-Jewish) manufacturer of the product in question.)

  • See this OU article oukosher.org/blog/industrial-kosher/vanilla It describes the curing and the flavor extract process. The 1st par. says "We have absolutely nothing to worry about". Does the "worry" include kashrut, too? I'm uncertain how to translate that. I sometimes see one of the heads of OU kashrut div. in my neighborhood, and I know another mashgiach. B"N, I'll try to ask one of them. – DanF Jul 31 '15 at 18:28
  • @DanF I would suggest (after reading that paragraph) that he is saying that as the mashgiach, he finds after inspecting the process and ensuring that nothing has been done wrong, that he has "no problem" certifying it as kosher. However, the difference would be whether the "plain" vanilla beans need to be put through this process to be usable or if they can be used raw. – sabbahillel Jul 31 '15 at 21:22
  • @DanF I think that the worry referred to is indeed worry about kashrus; if Rabbi Talmid is correct, then that's an answer to this question. – msh210 Jul 31 '15 at 21:23
  • @sabbahillel Even if they cannot be used raw, as long as a Jew cooks them further (e.g. by cooking the vanilla beans into some other food) it should be fine, no? (That said, I have no idea how vanilla beans are used by consumers.) – msh210 Jul 31 '15 at 21:24
  • @msh210 I was dealing with the question (as I understood the OP) would the seller that the OP mentioned actually be selling completeley raw and untouched vanilla beans or had they undergone some processing before leaving the control of the seller. I see that Daniel found trhe CRC reference. – sabbahillel Jul 31 '15 at 21:59
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For what it's worth, the CRC's kashrut app lists vanilla beans as kosher without certification.

@msh210 says Twitter CRC

Plain vanilla beans without any added kosher sensitive ingredients are fine even without certification

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