To use the bean, slice it lengthwise to expose the seeds (which contain most of the fragrance and flavor). Some recipes suggest scraping out the seeds, others direct you to use the whole split pod. You can also grind the seed for use. To substitute whole beans for vanilla extract, use about one inch of the bean for each teaspoon of the extract.
Suggested Use: Universally popular in desserts-- cakes, cookies, puddings, candy, ice cream-- vanilla also adds rich flavor and aroma to many beverages (mulled cider, coffee, tea, lemonade, hot chocolate, warm milk). Try it is sauces, soufflés, and in shellfish, chicken, veal and dairy dishes.
By the way... You can use a vanilla bean more than once. Simply rinse and dry it between uses. But don't store your vanilla beans in the refrigerator, because they may mold there; place it in a dry spot. A tasty option is to place your vanilla bean in a small container of sugar. The vanilla bean will lend its flavor and aroma to the sugar.